Investigating officers have released footage captured by the Police Scotland helicopter to demonstrate the challenging terrain tackled by specialist police teams as part of searches to trace missing teenager Liam Smith.
The 16-year-old was reported missing from his home in Aberdeen’s Queen’s Road on Sunday 18 November 2018, having last been seen there on Saturday, 17 November 2018. Then subsequently at Union Square in Aberdeen a few miles away as he was spotted on CCTV footage.
Liam was captured on CCTV entering Union Square later that afternoon and boarded a 202 StageCoach bus for Deeside at 13.11. He bought a ticket for Raemoir Road in Banchory but a fellow passenger reported that he got off in the Crathes area.
Significant searches have been carried out at the National Trust for Scotland Crathes Castle Estate as well as the area around the A93 including fields, water and dense woodland.
Specialist resources including the Police Scotland helicopter, specialist search dogs, police search advisors and the Dive and Marine Unit have been utilised but sadly there has been no trace of Liam or his belongings.
These searches have been supported by Mountain Rescue Teams from Aberdeen and Braemar.
Liam's mother, Alix, said:
"It is now been five weeks since we last saw Liam and the prospect of Christmas without him is a really difficult situation for us to face. We understand the public's interest and we really do appreciate the support everyone has given by sharing the posts and putting up posters. Police officers have been out searching the areas that Liam was last seen every single day since we reported him missing and we are truly grateful for everyone's perseverance in trying to locate him."
Alix added: "We continue to hope that Liam will be found."
Searches have been undertaken across Grampian.
Chief Inspector Martin Mackay said:
“We have had an overwhelming response to our appeals and more than 200 sightings of Liam have been reported. Every piece of information has been followed up but despite extensive enquiries and intensive searches carried out Liam is still missing. Our enquiries still suggest he would have travelled to the Crathes area. We urge residents, particularly in this area, to remain vigilant and report anything unusual to police."
“Intensive searches remain ongoing and will continue with the exception of Christmas Day. We know that many people have offered to assist with searches however we carry out these operations in a highly specialised, methodical way with officers who are trained and experienced. We have a plan in place to ensure that all the challenging land we need to cover is searched effectively with the use of the required specialist resources."
“The public in the North East and particularly the Banchory and Crathes communities have been incredibly supportive and we are very grateful for the assistance and support that has been provided."
“Regular reviews of the enquiry have been carried out and will continue as is standard with any long-term missing person investigation."
“We have remained in contact with Liam’s family and will continue to keep them updated.”
Liam is described as white, approximately 6 foot 4 inches in height and of slim build.
He has short brown hair and walks with a distinctive gait.
When he was last seen he was carrying a camouflage North Face rucksack and was wearing Nike Air Max trainers.
He bought Lucozade, Jaffa Cakes and Dairy Milk at Sainsbury's at Guild Street before he walked through Union Square to get the CCTV-less StageCoach bus at Aberdeen Bus Station.
Anyone with information are to contact Police Scotland on 101.