The body of Susan McLean, a Groton native and longtime resident who went missing on May 17 while on vacation in Scotland, was found near a hiking trail on August 15 by volunteer search teams and formally identified several days later.
Scottish officials have not ruled on the cause of death, but police said they are not considering any “suspicious circumstances.”
In a story updated on August 19, The Daily Record reported that Lorna VanderZanden, a retired U.S. Army colonel and close friend of McLean’s led a team of volunteers that uncovered the remains very close to a trail searched by police.
McLean Family Statement
This statement was released this morning by Selectman Anna Eliot, Susan McLean’s sister. — Ed.
The family of Susan McLean would like to express profound gratitude to the people of Scotland who dedicated precious time and energy to her recovery. While vacationing with her immediate family in Aberfeldy during May 2015, Susan went missing.
After an exhaustive search by Police Scotland found nothing, long time friend Lorna VanderZanden organized a system of searches which concluded on the 15th of August; when a local resident discovered her. Many tenacious and kind persons prevailed in this effort. Susan passed away peacefully in a beautiful area of Scotland.
Susan Creighton Gould was born and grew up in Groton, Massachusetts. An avid equestrienne, she shared this upbringing with her sisters Betsey Reeves and Anna Eliot. Married in Groton in 1973, Susan and her husband, Donald A. McLean Jr., raised two sons. During the early 1990s, while Donald was serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Devens, the McLeans made Groton their home; they now reside in Pennsylvania.
Susan will be remembered for all her courage, ebullience and generosity. The family is heartened by the compassion of the people of Perthshire, the men and women of Police Scotland, and the Perth and Kinross officials, all of whom were instrumental in ensuring her return home with dignity. A memorial service will be planned for a future date.
The story in the U.K. paper quotes VanderZanden as saying that “… Lorna is furious police were unable to find her in that time, despite using specialist teams including dog handlers and divers.
She said they had passed within feet of the body at one point as they searched the Loch Hoil trail — but chose not to enter the heavily wooded area.
Lorna, 61, said yesterday: ‘I am totally astonished I could come here and find Susan in four weeks with eight volunteers on two Saturdays when Police Scotland could not find her in three months.'”
McLean, her husband Donald, and their two sons instructor had been staying at the Moness Resort near the village of Aberfeldy on a two-week vacation. The rugged area is popular both with local outdoor enthusiasts and tourists.