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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 21:44 GMT 22:44 UK
Woods body is missing schoolboy
Police at the scene of the discovery
Police forensic teams have examined the area
Police have confirmed that a body found in a wood in West Lothian is that of missing schoolboy Rory Blackhall.

The 11-year-old, of Adambrae in Livingston, disappeared after being dropped off for school on Thursday.

A post-mortem examination is now being carried out in an attempt to determine the cause of his death.

The community expressed its grief following the discovery of his body on Sunday afternoon, with flowers being laid at the entrance to the woods.

Officers said Rory's death was being treated as suspicious, which is standard procedure when a body is found in the open air.

Rory Blackhall
Rory Blackhall was reported missing on Thursday

He had not been seen since his mother Michelle dropped him off near Meldrum Primary in the Deans area of the town at about 0830 BST on Thursday.

The alarm was raised on Thursday afternoon when Rory's grandfather went to collect him from school and it was found he had not been in classes all day.

A search was launched and escalated over the weekend as fears for his safety grew.

His body was found just before 1300 BST on Sunday in woods at the western end of Dechmont Law, between the M8 and Meldrum Primary. Forensic teams have continued to examine the area.

Chief Inspector Jim Thomson, who led the search for Rory, said his thoughts were with the boy's family.

The whole community has been greatly saddened by the news
Deacon Glenda Wilson
Livingston Ecumenical Parish

He said there had been a "fantastic response" from people who wanted to help with the search.

"Over the weekend we had nearly 300 members of the public helping us with the search in addition to the 70 trained mountain search and rescue teams and specialist police officers," he said.

"This shows the strength of community spirit in the area and how much everyone has been affected by recent events."

Police were at Meldrum Primary on Monday to talk to parents about whether they remember anything unusual about last Thursday morning.

Officers have also been stationed at the town's other primary schools to offer reassurance.

Flowers at the gate of Nellburn path
Flowers have been laid at the gate of Nellburn path

The parents taking their children to Meldrum Primary on Monday included 37-year-old mother-of-two Karen Carroll.

She said: "My son normally walks to school as we live close by but obviously that's changed at the moment.

"I'll take him there and back - that's the safest thing to do, I think."

Deacon Glenda Wilson, of Livingston Ecumenical Parish, said: "The clergy and all the people of the Livingston churches had been hoping and praying that Rory would be found safe and well.

"The whole community has been greatly saddened by the news."

The people who laid flowers at the entrance to the woods included 38-year-old Brian McPhillie, who said: "It is just a tragedy what has happened.

"Everyone is emotional. We've just been to the primary school and the kids are out in the playground but they are not playing. It is very sad."



SEE ALSO:
Schoolboy search teams find body
21 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Rory search operation is expanded
20 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Mum begs missing son to come home
19 Aug 05 |  Scotland


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