No human remains have been found under a cafe in Gloucester believed to have links to serial killer Fred West and missing girl Mary Bastholm, police have said.
Gloucestershire Police said no other “items of significance” were discovered at the Clean Plate Cafe, which sits on the same site as an old cafe – the Pop-In – where Mary worked as a waitress.
She was last seen alive in January 1968.
The Bastholm family said in a statement: “We are still very sad that Mary has not been found. We were hoping to get a final closure on her disappearance that we could put her to rest.”
They described her as a “strong willed, happy-go-lucky teenager, dearly loved by her parents and two brothers”.
Her life was “tragically cut short” when she disappeared and her family “were never the same after she went missing”, they said.
Gloucestershire Police said in their statement: “Excavation work at the Clean Plate café has now been completed and we can confirm no human remains or items of significance to the investigation have been found.
“Digging to access and examine six areas of interest or ‘anomalies’ in the cellar area began last Wednesday, 19 May.
“The anomalies were identified by a team of expert forensic archaeologists and anthropologists ahead of the excavation work, with the experts able to determine that the remaining areas of the cellar had been undisturbed since prior to 1968, when Mary Bastholm disappeared.
“Each area was carefully examined by the forensics team with support from officers from the constabulary.
“The team worked each day, everything that was dug up was analysed on site and all activity was meticulously logged and photographed.”
Police added that the cafe will be handed back to its owners once reparation work is complete.
Owners The Nelson Trust said their “support of the police” has “always been driven by what we thought were in the best interests of the family”.
Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said at a news conference on Thursday: “Everyone working on this is disappointed we didn’t find Mary.”
But he said the investigation was “appropriate and proportionate” and “it does not mean we were wrong to look”.
The force’s thoughts are with her family “whose dignity has been humbling”, he added.
Police started investigating the site earlier this month after being alerted to possible evidence of human remains in the cellar by a documentary crew who were filming there.
ACC Holden said that “blue material” photographed by the production company was not found, but was likely to have been connected to a buried pipe.
Mary worked at the Pop-In cafe in Southgate Street before vanishing in 1968 at the age of 15, at a time when builder West was abducting girls in Gloucester.
West was suspected over her disappearance but took his own life in prison, aged 53, in 1995. He was said to have confessed to killing the teenager in conversation with his son, Stephen, but never admitted it to police.
Mary’s body has never been found and was not discovered during an excavation of the Wests’ home – known as the House of Horrors – in Cromwell Street in Gloucester in 1994.
West was charged with 12 murders but killed himself before his trial.
Rose West, his wife, was convicted of 10 murders in November 1995 and is serving a whole life sentence.