DETECTIVES are scouring moorland in Greater Manchester in the search for missing gran Pamela Jackson.
Officers are searching hills above Littleborough, near Rochdale, for the remains of the 55-year-old, from Chester-le-Street, who vanished in March.
Hope is now fading that Ms Jackson, who has three sons and four grandchildren, will be found alive.
Her partner, Adrian Muir, 50, has appeared in court charged with her murder.
Mr Muir lives in nearby Halifax, and the pair are thought to have met over the internet. Officers from Durham, who are leading the investigation, are being assisted on the moors by colleagues from West Yorkshire Police.
Ms Jackson’s close-knit family said her disappearance has left them devastated, yet unable to properly grieve, and they have now appealed for anyone with information on her disappearance to contact police.
Ms Jackson’s sister Marion Elsinor, 52, said: “It’s an ongoing nightmare.
“It is out of character for her to go off and not to tell anyone where she would be.”
Sister Deborah Leighton, 51, said: “She is an important part of our family, as she was the oldest sister.
“As the youngest sister, I always looked up to her.
“She looked after us, as my mam was always working.
“I just miss her,” Ms Leighton added. “She needs to come home so we can do the right thing and bury her.
“We need to give her a proper sendoff instead of just wondering where she is.”
Ms Jackson, who did not work due to ill-health, missed the 18th birthday last week of her oldest granddaughter, Stacey Armstrong.
“We cannot grieve because we haven’t got her,” she said.
Her family said Ms Jackson was outgoing, with a lively personality, and acted much younger than her age.
“She was like a teenager, and she wouldn’t go out of the house without her high heels,” said Stacey.
Ms Jackson, who had an interest in ghost-hunting, spiritualism and healing stones, liked to buy and sell antiques and ornaments.
A spokesman for Durham Police said: “The search teams are continuing their work across a number of locations.”