Detectives investigating the disappearance of a landlady 17 years ago were yesterday digging up a suburban garden in search of a body.
Deborah Steel, 37, landlady of the Royal Standard pub in Ely, Cambs., was last seen just after 1am on December 28, 1997.
Specialist teams spent the weekend and yesterday excavating the garden of a detached house in a cul-de-sac in Ely.
It is understood they are searching for a body.
Last week a 70 year-old man from Ely was arrested on suspicion of murder. He was released on bail to return to Parkside police station in Cambridge on October 2.
It is understood the garden being excavated belongs to the man who was arrested.
A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said: “We have been excavating a garden of a property in Ely over the weekend as part of the ongoing inquiry into the disappearance of Deborah Steel.”
After the arrest last week DCI Martin Brunning, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, said: “I am convinced that the answer to Deborah Steel’s disappearance lies in Ely and that there are people in the city who can provide key information.
“Deborah was a pub landlady who would have had a wide circle of friends and associates.
“Somebody out there knows something, or has overheard a conversation over the years, which could really help with our investigation.
“I am appealing for anyone who may be able to provide fresh information on this case to contact us.
“All information will be treated in confidence, and can be left anonymously.
“Deborah has not been seen for 17 years and her family deserve to know what happened to her.”