Police investigating the death of a young Inverness woman appealed to the public last night for help in piecing together the final minutes of her life.
Officers revealed yesterday that Charlotte Hornby’s body was discovered by a police dog handler after she was reported missing by her family on Sunday.
The popular 24-year-old was last seen by her boyfriend, Joe Afif, in the early hours when the couple separated after a night out in Johnny Foxes pub in the city centre and headed to their respective homes.
When she failed to meet her family, as arranged later that day, her disappearance was so out of character that they alerted the police.
Her body was found in a burn about a hundred yards from where she had parted with Mr Afif at Cavell Gardens at 3.25am.
He was too upset to speak when the Press and Journal contacted him yesterday.
However, Miss Hornby’s family released a moving statement, saying she had “life to the full” and was looking forward to a new chapter in her life after moving to Inverness.
More floral tributes have been left at Island Bank Road, close to the spot where the St Andrews University graduate was found on Sunday afternoon.
Officers are now trawling through CCTV images and witness statements after members of the public responded to an appeal for information, including possible sightings of Ms Hornby.
She and Mr Afif walked along the side of the river as far as the Infirmary Bridge but Miss Hornby did not make it to her family’s flat at Dores Road.
Acting Chief Inspector Mark Czerniakiewicz said: “Several people have contacted us to say they saw Charlotte, dressed in black, with bright blonde hair, and carrying a tan leather bag.
“There has been a good response because she was so distinctive, and the area was fairly busy with parents collecting their children from the city centre.
“Where she was found is a five-minute walk from where she was last seen and I would urge anyone who saw her near to where she was found to get in touch.
“She was not familiar with the area, had only lived there for a short period of time, and may have become disorientated – at this stage we are not quite able to say.
“Although there is a strong possibility that it was an accidental death, at this stage it is still being classed as unexplained.”
Mr Czerniakiewicz urged witnesses to contact police on 101.