A new search for Keith Bennett has found “no evidence to suggest the presence of remains”, police say.
“No bones, fabric or items of interest” have been found at a site being searched for the last victim of the Moors murderers, police have said.
Keith Bennett was one of five youngsters killed by Ian Brady and his partner Myra Hindley in the 1960s.
The 12-year-old is the only victim whose remains have never been found.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said a search of Saddleworth Moor had produced “no visible evidence to suggest the presence of human remains”.
The force said a member of the public researching Keith’s murder had reported “possible human remains” on Thursday, leading to a search of a “site of interest”.
Det Ch Insp Cheryl Hughes said forensic archaeologists and forensic anthropologists had “completed a methodical archaeological excavation and examination of the area previously dug and refilled by the member of the public”.
“No bones, fabric or items of interest were recovered from the soil,” she said.
She said the experts were now continuing a “controlled excavation of the area immediately surrounding the original site to provide a higher level of assurance of the presence or absence of any items of interest”.
“Further soil samples have been taken for analysis, but at this time, there is no visible evidence to suggest the presence of human remains,” she said.
She added that officers remained “committed” to providing Keith’s family with answers and would keep them “updated at every stage”.
The force said samples obtained by the member of the public had been sent by GMP to accredited experts for analysis.
Keith went missing while on his way to see his grandmother in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester on 16 June 1964.
His mother Winnie Johnson, who died in 2012, spent her life trying to locate her son, even taking to the moor herself, armed with a spade.
He was one of five youngsters who were tortured and killed by Brady and Hindley between 1963 and 1965.
Brady, who was born in Glasgow but later moved to Manchester, was jailed in 1966 for the murders of John Kilbride, aged 12, Lesley Ann Downey, 10, and Edward Evans, 17.
In 1985, after being moved to a secure hospital, Brady also admitted murdering Keith and 16-year-old Pauline Reade.
The pair were caught after Hindley’s brother-in-law witnessed the murder of Edward and reported it to police, who found his body at Brady and Hindley’s shared home in Hyde, Greater Manchester.
Lesley Ann was the first victim to be found on Saddleworth Moor, after police received a tip-off from one of Brady’s neighbours, and subsequent searches of the area unearthed the remains of Pauline and John.
Police have since carried out a number of searches of the moor to try and find Keith’s remains, including two in which they were joined by the murderers, but his body has never been found.
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