DETECTIVES searching lay-bys in North Yorkshire for the body of a murdered mother-of-three said her remains may have been moved from their initial hiding place.
Searches of land off the A19 near Thirsk, including the use of forensic experts and military know-how, have drawn a blank in the investigation into the disappearance of Rania Alayed, 25, from Cheetham Hill, in Manchester.
She has not been seen in public since the evening of June 7 and was reported missing from her home nearly a month later.
It is thought she was taken in a white camper van in the early hours of June 8 from Manchester to the Thirsk area, where her body was buried or concealed.
Detectives think the Leyland DAF 200 vehicle stopped at a lay-by on the northbound carriageway of the A19 but the exact location is not known.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete March, overseeing the search for Greater Manchester Police (GMP), yesterday showed her uncle Ali Aydi around muddy fields by the lay-bys where police have been searching.
Mr Aydi, a Syrian living in Lebanon, left a simple bouquet of flowers near one possible site where his niece may have been dumped.
Afterwards Mr March repeated calls for anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the area around the A19 to come forward.
“It took us three or four weeks before we knew Rania was dead from the time she was killed,” he said. “We believe her body was brought here. The question I have got to ask is, ‘has she been moved in that four-week period’?
“It may well be after June 8, you might have seen someone in these fields, in these lay-bys, something suspicious or out of the ordinary.
“It would probably have taken two people to move the body and they would have required a large suitcase or some carpet to conceal her. It would be out of the ordinary, it would not be someone just nipping into the bushes for a call of nature.”
Mr Marsh said he was disappointed not to have found Ms Alayed yet, but insisted the evidence pointed to her being dumped at an A19 lay-by near Thirsk. “GMP has a history of looking for dead people long, long after it - you look at the Moors Murderers. We won’t rest, we will revisit and revisit.”
Police have had assistance from the Royal Engineers, fly-pasts by RAF jets, police helicopter searches, forensic botanists and forensic archaeologists, as well as specialists using ground-penetrating radar and sniffer dogs.
Mr Marsh added: “Since Rania disappeared her family have understandably been desperate for answers.
“We have kept them up-to-date on every major development and we felt it was important to invite them to one of the search locations so they can see first-hand what we’re doing. I understand it isn’t an easy journey to make but I admire their determination to help the police in any way they can.
“I hope Ali Aydi will now be able to reassure the rest of Rania’s family that we are doing everything in our power to find their daughter’s body.”
Mr Marsh said the search will now move further north along the A19.
Before the visit, Mr Aydi said: “Rania was taken from us six months ago when she was brutally murdered, in the most beautiful years of her life. She leaves behind three children who face life without her.
“Her body is still to be found, so we cannot give her a dignified burial.
“It has been very difficult for her parents, who live in Lebanon and face an unknown future for their grandchildren. We are grateful to the community and the police for all they have done and continue to do. We appeal to the public who have any information to come forward.”
Ms Alayed had previously lived in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, and moved to Manchester in January.
Three men have appeared in court in connection with Ms Alayed’s disappearance. Her husband Ahmed Khatib, 33, of Knutsford Road in Gorton, Manchester, has been charged with murder.
His brother Muhanned Mahmood Al Khatib, 38, of Arthur Millwood Court, Salford, has been charged with murder and perverting the course of justice. Their brother Hussain Al Khateeb, 34, of Knutsford Road, Gorton, has been charged with perverting the course of justice.