Body found in search for missing Wetherby pensioner

Jean Jellings, 84, who went missing from her Wetherby Manor home on February 20. (S)
Jean Jellings, 84, who went missing from her Wetherby Manor home on February 20. (S)
  • A body has been found in the River Wharfe at Tadcaster during the search for missing Wetherby pensioner Jean Jellings
  • Police have not identified the body but have notified Mrs Jellings’ family
  • Mrs Jellings, 84, has been missing since February 20, when she went for a morning walk and did not return to her supported-living home

A body has been found in the search for missing pensioner Jean Jellings.

Searching the River Wharfe, police recovered a body almost six weeks after the 84-year-old went missing, but it has not yet been identified.

According to Detective Supt Pat Twiggs, who has overseen the search, West Yorkshire Police was notified on Monday that a body had been recovered from the River Wharfe at Tadcaster.

She said: “We are continuing to liaise with our colleagues in North Yorkshire and the identification process is ongoing. The family of Jean Jellings have been made aware.”

Mrs Jellings was last seen going for her usual morning walk from her supported-living home on St James Street at 5.30am on February 20.

She failed to return to the Hadrian Healthcare Group-owned Wetherby Manor and was reported missing.

Extensive searches involving specialist search teams and the police helicopter were carried out in the area in the following days, and local officers have continued to search key areas and distribute posters and leaflets appealing for information.

Outer North East Insp Paul Dwyer, of West Yorkshire Police, told the Wetherby News that the planned under-water search, scheduled to take place on March 20, was postponed as water levels were too high.

“We have spent a lot of time carrying out extensive searches of the river and the banks,” he said.

“The family needs answers really, and that is what the police are trying to provide by giving an answer as to what has happened to her.

“I must thank people in the town who have been only too willing to help us with our searches.”

Exactly a month after Mrs Jellings went missing, additional officers went into the town to find out more information.

After reported possible sightings, police believed Mrs Jellings had walked along Westgate before turning on Castle Gate.

Previous searches had focused on the river and banks because it was known that Mrs Jellings liked to walk along the riverside and sit near the bandstand in the Wilderness.

Specialist teams had also searched from near the sports club in Wetherby and all the way down the River Wharfe to just outside Tadcaster.

Det Supt Pat Twiggs said before the body was found: “Mrs Jellings’ family are understandably upset and very concerned to find out what has happened to her and we are doing all we can to support them and get them the answers they need.

“We are also very much aware that Wetherby is a close-knit community and people there have been maintaining a keen interest in the investigation and want to do all they can to assist in finding her.

“It was completely out of character for her to have gone missing like this but we are satisfied from our enquiries that there are no suspicious circumstances.”