Police investigating the death of Moors Murders victim Keith Bennett are probing the reported discovery of a human skull.
The 12-year-old was one of five victims of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, with three of them later found buried on Saddleworth Moor.
But the schoolboy's body was never found following his disappearance in 1964 and 48 years later his mother, Winnie Johnson, died aged 78 without fulfilling her wish to give him a proper Christian burial.
Fresh hopes were raised today when a report in the Daily Mail revealed that author Russell Edwards believes he has located the youngster's makeshift grave following "extensive soil analysis" which indicated the presence of human remains.
It is said Mr Edwards commenced his own dig - close to where the other Moors Murders victims were found - and uncovered a skull with teeth present which independent experts are reported to have concluded is human.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police's force review officer Martin Bottomley said: "At around 11.25am on Thursday, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
"Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
"The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity.
"We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
"It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
"We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother (Alan) of the potential development - he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected."