'Lady of the lake' missing 21 years

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The Independent Online
Police have identified the body of a woman known as the "lady of the lake" which was found bound and weighted down at the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria, a week ago.

Cumbria Police last night refused to reveal the details of their forensic investigation to identify the body but she is expected to be named as Carol Park, a 31-year-old primary school teacher who disappeared from her home in Barrow-in-Furness, 14 miles from the lake, in 1976.

Mrs Park, who had three young children, vanished from the bungalow she shared with her husband, Gordon, in Leece, near Barrow, while the rest of the family were on a day trip to Blackpool. She had told him she felt unwell and would spend the day in bed.

She was never seen again but her disappearance was not treated as suspicious.

Police said that the body found in Coniston Water was believed to have been there for at least 15 years and probably longer.

Teams of forensic experts in a range of fields, including ropes and knots and plastics, were called in to help identify the remains, which were partly preserved by the lake's cold water.

They were able to identify the remains after experts reconstructed her jaw, mouth and teeth and connected them to dental records.

Mrs Park's husband, a retired teacher who still lives in the town, is away on holiday and it is not known whether police have been in contact with him.

The couple had two children, Rachel and Jeremy, and an adopted daughter, Vanessa, who was left alone after Mrs Park's sister, Christine Price, was murdered by a former lover seven years before Mrs Park's disappearance.

She became a primary school teacher at Broughton-in-Furness primary school before marrying Gordon Park at the age of 22 in 1967.

Mr Park, who is now aged 53, cared for his three children after his wife's disappearance and later remarried.