FOLLOWING the devastating fire which totally destroyed a cottage near Fettercairn last week, formal identification is still awaited of the human remains found within the building.
It is feared however that the remains are that of the occupier of the cottage, 78-year-old Jane Murray.
The blaze, at Hillhead Cottage, Balfour, Fettercairn, began just before midnight on Wednesday. The cottage, one of three in a row, was completely destroyed and the roof collapsed.
Grampian Police and Grampian Fire and Rescue immediately began a joint investigation, with a scene of crime officer from Inverurie arriving to take charge.
Fire and Rescue Commander David Rout said his team of fire investigators arrived at 11.30am on Thursday, but progress was limited initially as the building had to be made safe.
When firefighters arrived at just before midnight the fire was well established. Appliances from Brechin, Laurencekirk and Inverbervie attended.
It took an hour and a half for the blaze to be brought under control, with the flames finally extinguished at 1.30am.
There were initial hopes that Mrs Murray may have been away from home and the house may have been empty.
Mrs Murray had rented the cottage for around 18 years. She was described as a private person, but did take part in village life.
A widow, Mrs Murray has a daughter living in America.
After the discovers of human remains, police said their investigations were continuing.
Detective Inspector Neil Cameron said: “We are aware that Jane may have had a close male friend, Greg or Craig.
“Despite our inquiries, I am disappointed that we have not been able to trace this person.”