THE mysterious death of a woman in Bolton in the 1960s is to be featured on a new website in a new bid to identify her.

The woman, who was nicknamed Mary Ellen by police, was discovered in the cellar of a house undergoing renovation in Bromwich Street, The Haulgh, in 1982, and it is thought she could have been dead as long as 17 years before being found.

Now she features on a new website run by The Missing Persons Bureau, which has been launched to enlist the public's help to identify people, both living and dead.

A lookalike of Mary Ellen’s head was created by Richard Neave at Manchester University, but her identity still remains a mystery.

In 2004, the Bolton Evening News was approached by Lily Jones, a Bootle woman who was seeking information about the case.

She was convinced the woman was her mother, Ruth Hanratty.

The body was exhumed in 2009 in the hope that modern DNA techniques, not available when she was discovered, could be used, but the tests showed that she was not Ruth Hanratty.

The new web site includes information about her clothing and jewellery, which includes red underwear, a turquoise jumper, mustard yellow cardigan and brown trousers.

She had two gold crucifix earrings, black rosary beads, minus the cross, and a gold eternity ring on the third finger of her left hand with small stones set all the way round. The website is the first in the UK dedicated to unidentified people.

Bureau manager Joe Apps said: “The aim of the new site is to bring closure to the families and friends of the people featured.

“With new unidentified person cases we rely on modern forensic techniques for identification but on older cases we look to use every tool available and believe that case publicity is the best chance of getting images recognised.

“This will be the first time families of missing people have been able to search through records for themselves and it will empower families to play an active part in the search for their loved ones.”

The public can pass on information through the site, and the bureau will pass any significant details to the relevant police force or coroner for further investigation.

Visit the site at