Remains exhumed from Conwy grave don't belong to woman missing for 37 years

Human remains exhumed from a grave in Conwy do not belong to a woman who went missing from her home in Mochdre over 35 years ago. Police had hoped that tests on the remains would show them as belonging to Priscilla Berry and led an extensive investigation to identify them.

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Grave of woman buried 35 years ago to be exhumed

Police will exhume a grave in Conwy as part of their investigation to identify human remains found off the coast of Llandudno over 30 years ago.

39-year-old Priscilla Berry was reported missing from her home in Mochdre in 1978.

Police believe the remains may belong to Priscilla Berry Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Detectives believe the remains in the grave are those of Priscilla Berry.

North Wales Police will carry out the exhumation at Llangwstenin Cemetery in the Conwy Valley.

It's part of a wider operation aimed at closing cases of people who went missing many years ago.

Officers combine the latest advances in DNA technology and traditional investigative methods to help conclude enquiries that started years ago and help bring some closure to families who have lived with uncertainty for such a long time. Criminality is not suspected in any of the cases and the focus of the operation is simply to identify, reunite and allow the dignity of a funeral service for family and friends to pay their respects.

– Dc Don Kenyon, North Wales Police

This operation follows a on-going media campaign which has helped investigating officers in identifying the family of Priscilla Berry.

Police hope to conclude the exhumation by this afternoon.

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Police to exhume remains of woman buried 35 years ago

Police trying to identify the remains of a woman found in 1980 will exhume a grave in Conwy as part of their investigation.

After a media campaign, Police were unable to identify the families of the other remains buried in the communal grave. Credit: North Wales Police

The remains were found in the sea in 1980, 15 miles off the coast of Llandudno and were buried in a communal grave in Llangwstenin Cemetery, Conwy. They will be exhumed on January 13, 2015.

Police believe the remains may belong to Priscilla Berry a woman who went missing from her home in Mochdre, Conwy in 1978.

They have identified Mrs Berry's family and are now able to compare their DNA with samples from the remains that were found.

Our enquiries suggest a good possibility the remains are those of Mrs Pricilla Berry and after local media helped us identify family members I have kept them fully aware of developments. Before the exhumation begins, and at the family’s request, a local Minister will conduct a brief graveside blessing for both Mrs Berry and the as yet, unidentified remains, as well as the two people buried in the same plot the respective families of whom we have been unable to identify and inform.

– Detective Constable Don Kenyon, North Wales Police

The cemetery will be closed for the day whilst Police and forensic experts exhume the remains and recover them for examination.

Police trying to identify human remains

Police attempting to identify the remains of a woman found in 1980 are hoping to exhume a grave as part of their investigation.

The remains were found in the sea in 1980, 15 miles off the coast of Llandudno and were buried in a communal grave in Llangwstenin Cemetery, Conwy.

Police believe the remains may belong to Priscilla Berry. Credit: ITV Wales News

North Wales police now believe those remains may belong to Priscilla Berry, a woman who went missing from her home in Mochdre, Conwy in 1978.

To compare samples of DNA from Mrs Berry's family with the remains that were found, they need to be removed from the grave but police would like to consult the families of the others buried there before they do.

Before we proceed I would like to speak with any family members and discuss our intentions, the process and address any concerns they have. Enquiries to locate any living relatives have so far proved fruitless and so once again I’d like to appeal through the media and ask the public for their help.

– DC Don Kenyon, North Wales Police

The remains were buried with Mrs Mary Davies aged 60 who died at Llandudno Hospital on 25th October 1980. Also buried in the grave is Mr Sidney Rogers who died aged 60 on 30th May 1979. Mr Rogers was a hotel worker at The Portals Hotel, Vaughan St, Llandudno.

If you have any information email don.kenyon@nthwales.pnn.police.uk or call 01745 588784.

New DNA techniques helping with unsolved cases

Advances in DNA technology are being used to help solve what happened to Priscilla Berry.

Detectives are using advances in DNA technology to try and identify human remains discovered in North Wales in the last 50 years.

Under Operation Orchid, officers say they hope to bring closure to families who have lived with uncertainty for a long time.

Criminality is not suspected in any of the cases.

One mystery dates back to January 1980, when female human remains were recovered from the sea 15 miles off Llandudno and were interred at a local cemetery.

Police inquiries with the National Missing Persons Bureau have identified a possible match with 39-year-old Priscilla Berry, possibly of the maiden name Sturgess.

She went missing from her home in Mochdre, Colwyn Bay, in June 1978.

It is now possible to link close family members such as siblings or children through DNA. If we can locate a brother, sister or child of Mrs Berry we can take a DNA sample to compare to the remains.

Although Mrs Berry went missing over 35 years ago, we believe it is still important for her family to know what became of their relative - and we will do all we can to help.

It is by no means certain that the remains are those of Mrs Berry, but the proposed tests should provide a definitive answer.

We are therefore appealing to anyone who is related to Priscilla Berry or knows any of her family members to contact North Wales Police.

– Detective Constable Don Kenyon
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