HUMAN remains of an adult female have been found in a septic tank on the former property of a farmer more than 30 years after his wife disappeared.
Brenda Venables disappeared in 1982 aged 48 from her home in Kempsey, Worcestershire, and her husband David still lives in the area.
8 Brenda Venables disappeared in 1982 aged 48 from her home in Kempsey, Worcs.Credit: Worcester News
8 Human remains were found on Quaking Farm, where Mrs Venables lived at the time she went missingCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
8 David Venables, 86, leaves his bungalow in Kempsey, not far from where human remains were found at his former home after his wife went missing in 1982Credit: SWNS:South West News Service
Maintenance workers raised the alarm on July 12 and police later made the grim discovery.
West Mercia Police confirmed today the remains belong to an adult female, and are working to identify who they belong to with DNA.
Detective Chief Inspector Carl Moore said: "The results enable us to confirm that the bones discovered are that of an adult female.
"We are aware this is concerning for the community of Kempsey, the wider Worcestershire area and for those with missing family or friends. There is a lot of speculation surrounding the remains.
"These types of discoveries are rare and I would like to reassure people that we are doing our utmost to identify the remains – so that a family can have closure and lay their loved one to rest."
He continued: "Unfortunately, this can be a lengthy process but we are committed to identifying who this is and will update the community in due course."
Locals have said they believe the remains belong to Mrs Venables.
Her husband David, now 86, sold the farmhouse in 2014 for £467,000 and lives in a £300,000 bungalow nearby.
The remains were originally thought to be connected to the search for the murdered estate agent Suzy Lamplugh in Pershore – about 10 miles away – but police ruled it out.
Officers are now looking into the possibility the bones belong to Mrs Venables after confirming it was a "line of inquiry" and are waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination this week.
Mrs Venables ran a nursery on the side while her husband had a piggery nearby on their 500 acres of land.
It is understood they didn't have any children.
Mr Venables declined to comment yesterday and told reporters: "I have nothing to say on the matter."
One villager, who did not want to be named, said: "Nobody ever seemed to know what happened to her.
"She went missing one night – the family have never had closure."
Speaking at the time of the disappearance, Mr Venables said: "I just woke up to find that she had gone.
"She has never done anything like this before and I haven't the faintest idea what has happened to her."
He went on to say his wife had recently been suffering from depression and a bout of flu.
Mr Venables added: "I have been unable to sleep a wink since she left and I can only hope and pray she is safe."
Her disappearance was treated as a search for a missing person and it never became a murder inquiry.
He was never arrested in connection with his wife's disappearance, according to relatives.
Mrs Venables' name was added to her parents' gravestone 16 miles away in Rushock, recording her year of death as 1982.
Suzy, 25, was reported missing on July 28, 1986 in London and was officially declared dead in 1994.
The Met Police started searching for Suzy at Drakes Broughton, Worcs., close to where a previous search had taken place.
Officials said it was result of fresh information following a search at prime suspect and convicted killer John Cannan's mum's home.
He was never prosecuted for Suzy's murder because there was insufficient evidence.
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West Mercia Police say it could take weeks before the remains are formally identified.
Superintendent Damian Pettit said: "We are conducting a very thorough investigation and have multiple lines of enquiry to explore and one of which is into the disappearance of a woman from Kempsey that was launched in 1982."
"Until we have formal identification we are not in a position to link the remains to any particular person at this stage."
8 This is the cesspit maintenance workers were draining when they made the grim discoveryCredit: SnapperSK
8 The cesspit is at the rear of the farmhouseCredit: Caters News Agency
8 David Venables leaving his bungalow on Friday morningCredit: SWNS:South West News Service
8 Mr Venables said his wife disappeared while he was sleeping in 1982Credit: Worcester News
8 The remains were originally thought to be connected to the search for missing Suzy LamplughCredit: Rex Features