Police were called after a small body was discovered by a member of the public in a woodland on the property of a former hotel. Police believe the young child to be Alesha MacPhail, 6, who was reported missing in Rothesay on the island at 6:25 AM on Monday, 2 July.

Formal identification has yet to be carried out, but there seems no doubt it is the body of young Alesha. While the child’s death is being treated as unexplained, police have launched an investigation and urge anyone with relevant information to please come forward, even if they believe it is something insignificant.

Alesha MacPhail reported missing

Alesha was officially reported missing at 6:25 AM on Monday and a search was launched, not only by the police but also by local residents. June McKenzie lives close to the child’s grandmother on Ardbeg Road and she was among those joining the search for Alesha.

ITV News quotes McKenzie as saying they were woken at 7 AM and told that Alesha was missing and could they help search for her. They checked the workshop and garage in the home and then spotted a search and rescue helicopter out and about. Once she heard the bad news, McKenzie said she couldn’t believe it, adding that it was “appalling” that such a thing could happen to someone so young. She commiserated with Alesha’s parents and grandmother.

McKenzie added that everyone on the island sticks together and that they would all be “just down” for some time.

Police make a statement about Alesha’s death

The BBC quotes Police Scotland Detective Superintendent Stuart Houston, who is part of the force’s major investigation team, as making a statement about the case. Houston said the death of the six-year-old girl had shocked what is a very tight-knit community, adding that it is “imperative” they find out exactly what happened.

Houston added that the investigation is obviously in its early stages, but he appealed to anyone that had any information to help establish the young girl’s last movements to please come forward. He went on to say they know a number of local residents helped with the search when the alarm was initially raised. Houston would like to talk to anyone involved in the search who may not have yet spoken with the police.

He added that anyone that was in the area surrounding Ardbeg Road around the time of the disappearance may have critical information that could assist police in their enquiries.

Houston went on to reiterate that Alesha’s death is still being considered as “unexplained” at this point and reassured local residents that this type of occurrence is rare in Rothesay. He stressed that a team of skilled detectives is working on the investigation to find out the circumstances surrounding Alesha’s death.

Meanwhile, floral tributes carrying moving messages for the family of the young girl were placed outside homes in the area, reading, among other things, “forever in our thoughts,” and “sleep tight little angel.”