Children playing at Salford nature reserve where body part was later found may have crucial information, police say

Detectives investigating human remains found wrapped in plastic at a Salford nature reserve believe children who were playing in the area days before the discovery could have crucial information.

The crime scene in Kersal Dale Wetlands has been lifted after a 12-day search involving more than 100 officers, an underwater search team and dogs.

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The "significant body part" found wrapped in clear plastic on Thursday 4 April was today confirmed by Greater Manchester Police to consist of the bottom part of the deceased's back, buttocks and thigh.

Detectives are working to identify the victim, who they say was a man likely over the age of 40. It appears he was white, with no distinguishable marks on his body such as scars or tattoos, police added.

Officers think he had only been dead for a few days.

Police have launched a murder investigation and are appealing for witnesses, including dog walkers, who were in the area between 6am and 6pm on the day a passer-by made the grim discovery.

A trawl of footage from nearby CCTV cameras found children were playing in the area in the days leading up to the body part being found and officers believe they "could hold crucial information without even realising it".

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Naismith said: "Our focus from day one has remained on the victim's family. They will be suffering the loss of a loved one, and we need to be able to give them answers so they can come to terms with their loss. Our work is far from over, this is just the beginning of a long and complex investigation."

He added: "Although we haven't found any more human remains in the area from our searches, we continue to work with an open mind whilst our murder investigation continues."

The investigation cannot confirm the deceased's nationality at this stage, the detective added.

He said: "My team have checked the victim's DNA against the UK police database and although this does not bring up a match, there is extensive work ongoing, including trawls of various other databases, missing person records and medical records; it's a big piece of work which will take time."

The police also want to hear from members of the public who may have a missing family member, DCI Naismith said.

He added: "Right now, as well as wanting to speak to those who may have been in the area where the body part was found, we are also appealing to anyone who has a dad, brother, or son who they have not seen in over 12 days to come forward and speak to us.

"Our victim could be a family member, friend, co-worker or acquaintance and someone somewhere will have an idea of what has happened to him."

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Earlier in the investigation a 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and later released on bail pending further enquiries.