Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 17:15 UK

Body found in Mexico OAP search

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Julia Howard
Julia Howard went missing on 16 June

A body has been found in the search for a missing Scottish pensioner in Mexico, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Police have told 78-year-old Julia Howard's family of the discovery near a resort in Cancun.

Local reports suggested that human remains have been found in the jungle, along with clothing and jewellery.

Mrs Howard's daughter, Julia Brock, said it was a nightmare but the family were determined to find out what had happened to her.

Mrs Howard disappeared on 16 June while on holiday with members of her family and had been due to go for a walk with them when the great grandmother-of-seven went missing.

I'm dazed and it's a total nightmare. We're going out to formally identify the body
Julia Brock

She had arrived at the five-star Moon Palace Resort the day before with her 55-year-old daughter, son Henry Harvey, 56, and his wife, Glynnis, 55.

Speaking from her home in Edinburgh's Firrhill, Ms Brock told the BBC Scotland news website how the family received a call from police at about 0700 BST on Thursday.

She added: "I'm dazed and it's a total nightmare. We're going out on Monday to formally identify the body.

"They said they think it is her but we are getting a huge amount of conflicting news. Although my brother thought it would be bad news, I was always kind of hoping she was still alive.

"The rest of the family say at least we can bring her home now."

'Just ludicrous'

Ms Brock said her mother adored the resort in Cancun and insisted that reports her mother had dementia were untrue.

She added: "She never went out of the complex, she rarely even went further than five minutes from the pool.

"To say she walked three miles and in the wrong direction is just ludicrous, she just wouldn't, but we can't prove it, but we know she was not capable of that.

"We've got to try and find out what happened to her."

She said: "Everyone liked my mum, she was always cheery and smiling, nobody can believe it and we haven't told the children yet, we just don't know how to."

It is understood the remains were discovered 2km into the jungle - which is 3km from the hotel.

Thomas Cook has arranged to fly the family out to the resort including Mrs Howard's son, Ron, who lives in the Philippines.

Mrs Howard's granddaughter Gill Greaves, 33, from Kirknewton on the outskirts of Edinburgh, told the website: "I think I had always hoped she would be found. This news is devastating as at the back of my mind I had thought perhaps they might have found her (alive)."

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