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The Unsolved Murder of Caroline Glachan

Hello, my loyal true crime readers and listeners. There is an update in this case! On November 25, 2021, three individuals appeared in court charged with the murder of Caroline Glachan. 

Andrew Kelly and Donna Brand, both 42, and Robert O’Brien, 43, have yet to make a plea or declaration and have been remanded in custody. They would have been 16, 17 and 18 when prosecutors contend they killed Caroline. No future court dates have been set, but the trial will likely be held at some point in 2022.

Authorities have yet to explain how they connected these individuals to Caroline’s murder. However, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Grainger, of the major investigations team, shared: “I would like to thank the members of the public who have assisted with our investigation and those who have come forward with important information surrounding Caroline’s death.”

Caroline’s mom, Margaret McKeich, told the media, “I’m just trying to digest it all. The last 25 years have been long. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve always had faith in the police, they have been great. They couldn’t have given me a better Christmas. I just want answers.”

Case File Overview

On Sunday, August 25th, 1996, 14-year-old Caroline Glachan was found dead near the west bank of the River Leven in Renton, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

Caroline spent the evening of August 24th with her friends. CCTV images show Caroline and her best friend Joanne Menzies leaving a local building at around 11:45 pm. Caroline is wearing jeans and a black sweatshirt in the video footage. She said goodbye to Joanne near the Bonhill shops at 11:54 pm, heading off to meet her new boyfriend. Caroline was last seen by a taxi driver at approximately 12:15 am. She was taking a shortcut along Dillichip Loan towards The Towpath and the Black Bridge. She was never seen alive again.

Crime scene along the west bank of the River Leven

Caroline Glachan Crime Scene Photo
Image source: Daily Mail

An autopsy later revealed that Caroline had suffered blunt force trauma and was drowned.

Caroline’s murder remains unsolved.

Case File Theories

There is only one real theory in this case: Caroline was killed by a local and the identity of this person is being kept secret by individuals in the community. The police are positive that someone in the local community holds the key to unlocking this case. It’s unclear, though, who this “someone” might be. Caroline’s new boyfriend? Someone known to Caroline? A stranger? Caroline hadn’t been robbed or sexually assaulted. This makes me seriously wonder about the motive behind this “violent attack.”

There is, however, a person of interest in Caroline’s case. A taxi driver, who had known Caroline since she was a child, saw her walking along Dillchip Loan at around 12:15 am. He also saw a man approaching Caroline from behind. The man was wearing a dark green hooded top and had “sharp features.” He was 20-25 years of age and approximately 5 foot 6 inches tall (168 centimetres). Other witnesses in the area reported hearing screams around the time Caroline was last seen.

Composite sketch of the person of interest

Photo of Caroline Glachan murder suspect
Image source: Scotland Police

The authorities are still actively working on Caroline’s case. They are in process of re-interviewing witnesses and obtaining sample references of DNA. With the advances in forensic technology, they are testing over 300 items collected throughout the course of the investigation.

Who do you think murdered Caroline?

Caroline’s loved ones are steadfast in their quest for answers. Like the authorities, they believe that someone in the local community knows something. Joanne, Caroline’s best friend, explained, “Caroline was only 14 when she was murdered. There’s people who know who done it, or who are shielding whoever done it and I would ask them to come forward.” Carolines mother, Margaret McKeich, implores those with information to come forward. She told the media, “The public have a part to play and I would urge anyone with information to come forward, to let Caroline rest in peace and give me closure. There are two questions I need answered – who and why?” As a heartbreaking aside, Caroline was murdered on her mother’s 40th birthday; I can’t even imagine how utterly terrible it must be every year for her mother when her birthday rolls around.

Anyone with information about Caroline’s murder should contact the Operation Fairing Team through 101. Email officers through operationfairing@scotland.pnn.police.uk.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111, maintaining anonymity.

“Three Accused of Murder of Scots Schoolgirl Caroline Glachan Back in Court.” Daily Record, December 3, 2021.

“Caroline Glachan: Mum of Schoolgirl Found Dead in 1996 Says Cops ‘Couldn’t have given her better Christmas’ as 3 Charged.” The Scottish Sun, November 26, 2021.

“Caroline Glachan: Three Charged With 1996 Murder of Schoolgirl.” BBC News, November 25, 2021.

“Three Appear in Court Charged With 1996 Murder of Scottish Schoolgirl.” The Guardian, November 25, 2021.

Caroline Glachan – Police Scotland file overview

Police Report an International Response in Caroline Glachan Murder HuntDumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter article

Locals ‘Could Hold Key to Caroline Glachan Murder’STV News article

Fresh Police Appeal 21 Years On From Teenager Caroline Glachan’s MurderITV News article

Police Probing the Murder of Bonhill Teen Caroline Glachan to Hand Report to CrownDaily Record article

Interested in unsolved murder cases? Check out the mysterious murder of Lisa Leckie and the bizarre slaying of Betsy Aardsma.

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10 Comments

  1. As always. Top notch. Gotta love that composite sketch. Guess the guy was a cartoon from the 70s.

    • Christine Christine

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words! And yes, that is quite the composite sketch. You’d think if it was accurate everyone in the small community wold have been able to quickly identify the person.

  2. Grace Patterson Grace Patterson

    I was thinking the same thing. If the sketch was accurate, someone would have come forward. I guess the taxi driver was excluded as a suspect? This kind of reminds me of the case in New Liskeard of Melanie Ethier, 15 years old. That case is over 20 years old now. She was also walking home very early from a friends house and was never seen again, although Caroline’s body was found. Makes my heart ache to see families having to struggle through tragedies like this. I hope with all of the items they are examining for DNA, something is found or someone comes forward to help the investigation move forward. Love your articles Christine!!

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Grace – Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment! I’ve never heard of the Ethier case, but it sounds equally as heartbreaking. Here’s hoping there’s a break in the case soon. I can’t even imagine what her loved ones must be going through. Have an excellent Easter weekend!

      • Elle Elle

        https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/woman-two-men-behind-bars-25546960

        Robert O’Brien (Robbie) looks strikingly similar in features if you look on his Facebook page. It’s been said that locals were too afraid to come forward and it’s possible the police also knew but didn’t have the necessary evidence. It’s limited what can be said or speculated on, but the truth won’t be too long in revealing itself hopefully x

        • Christine Christine

          Hi Elle – Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m so relieved there is an update in Caroline’s case! I’ve added what we know so far to the top of the article. Her poor mom and loved ones finally have some hope they will get answers. Thanks again and take care ~ Christine

  3. Gerard Clifford Gerard Clifford

    Living not too far from this horrific act (Glasgow) I remember it very well & have followed it closely. Her best friend alleges the police were determined to pin it on her & they after days of interrogation eventually claimed she had climbed down a drainpipe outside a flat she was in & followed & killed Caroline. Luckily for her friend a flat across the street had a CCTV camera that showed the drainpipe they claimed she climbed down. It showed nobody left via the drainpipe or indeed the front door. Serial killer Peter Tobin has long been linked with Caroline’s murder.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Gerard. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. This case sure hits close to home! It’s great that you shared your knowledge and insights with our readers. I’m so happy that Caroline’s friend had technology on her side. And you never know…a serial killer could indeed be responsible. Regardless, I hope one day Caroline gets some justice. As the years pass, I worry the chances of that happening become less and less likely. Thanks again. ~ Christine

    • Gordon Gordon

      Peter Tobin was in jail from 1994 -2004 which rules him out as Caroline was murdered in 1996

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