A double murder inquiry has been launched following the discovery of two bodies buried in a garden.
Detectives said they were confident the bodies were those of William and Pat Wycherley, who were believed to have moved to Morecambe in 1998.
The elderly couple ‘vanished’ from their home in Blenheim Close, Forest Town, Nottinghamshire.
Neighbours of the couple said that they believed the Wycherleys had moved to the Morecambe area, while others said that they thought the pair had emigrated.
But following a tip off about an incident which happened in the late 1990s, detectives were led to the house in Forest Town where human remains were discovered in the garden.
Police said that the bodies which were discovered last week, appeared to have been in the ground since around the time that the Wycherleys were last seen.
Mysteriously, a relative from the Staffordshire area has also claimed that her mother was receiving Christmas cards from the pair as late as 2009.
Mr Wycherley’s niece Hilary Rose, from Airdale Road, Stone, said her mother continued to receive Christmas cards signed ‘Bill and Pat’ until four years ago.
She added: “I know this because my mother died in September 2009 and a Christmas card arrived two months later.”
A 51-year-old Blenheim Close resident, who did not want to be named, said she had lived in the street for 18 years and had believed her elderly neighbours had emigrated.
She said: “I found it a bit weird that they would have done that, because that’s something you do in your fifties and they seemed to be quite elderly.
“We have been in the garden having barbecues without knowing a few houses away there were two bodies.”
Det Ch Insp Rob Griffin who is leading the investigation, said: “A post-mortem was conducted on Friday but not surprisingly given the passage of time it’s been very difficult to identify those that have been recovered.
“It’s also been difficult to ascertain the cause of death.
“Neither William nor Patricia were ever reported missing and we can find no evidence of either of them being alive or dead.
“The discovery in their former garden last week may be the reason why.”
Det Chief Insp Griffin added: “While we await the results, I would like to appeal to anyone who knows what happened to William or Patricia, after they disappeared from their home in Forest Town in 1998, to call police.
“William, known to many as ‘Bill’, would have turned 100 last year and Patricia, or ‘Pat’, would be 79. Do you know them? Have you seen or heard from them since 1998?
“If you have any information that may help our inquiry, no matter how small, and you have yet to speak to us, please phone us.”
Contact the incident room on 0115 844 5012 or call Crimestoppers anonymously.