1: Did Dom Maurus abscond? Highly unlikely. His life was at the monastery,he had no personal income independent of it, and a confused person is unlikely to make systematic plan for his disappearance.
2: Did he wander elsewhere in a state of confusion? Possibly, but such wanderers are often found within a day or two, either dead or alive; and in his distinct monastic habit he would easily have been noticed. Confused people cannot easily hide their tracks.
3: The monks favour the solution that he fell ill and was unable to summon help. . Considering his age this is highly likely, but when this happens the body is found lying in the open. But no body has been found. Did the dying man crawl into some shelter? But buildings would have been checked during the search and nothing was found.
4: People have been known to wander off to die in solitude. Others sometimes want to die in the open, and this cannot be ruled out, though you would expect a priest to want to die with the aid of the last rites of the church. If he died in solitude he would have to have concealed himself so well that none have been able to find him. But they have not.
The police suspect that the body may have been taken away by motor vehicle.
5: Police do not suspect kidnap. Although there has always been some anti-Catholic sentiment in some parts of Scottish society, there is no violence against individuals and no attacks on church ministers.
6:In disappearance cases often someone knows and is not saying. Dom Maurus was hard of hearing and had poor sight. Did he step into the road in the path of a car or van? Could the driver have had reasons to not report the accident to the police, possibly because he was a person banned from driving or driving without insurance? If the aged monk had died in the collision [you don't take impacts well at ninety three] the driver may well have stuffed the body into the back of the van and driven it off to be disposed of somewhere else. Roads in North East Scotland can be quite lonely, so it is possible that the driver in such an accident would have time to stuff a body into the back of a van without being seen. If this is the case, there is someone with a heavy weight preying on his conscience.
But whatever happened Catholics would say, requiescat in pace [ let him rest in peace.]
The search was thorough, so it seems that the most likely solution was, as you say, a traffic accident in which the body was taken away and disposed of elsewhere. Though the region around Plusgarden is well-farmed and inhabited, rather like much of New England, there are plenty of remote parts of Scotland within reach where one could dispose of a body.
frankbeswick, Thank you for the practical information and product lines. Are there too many ponds and rivers along Dom Maurus's route or did the police check them? It's reassuring to think of sending divers since on this side of the pond there has been a tendency toward dragging -- so traumatic for human and water bodies -- instead of diving.
It seems that the involvement of a motor vehicle would be from a traffic accident, not a health problem. Otherwise, why would they not have informed the abbey or returned Dom Maurus? Surely those involved would suspect that someone dressed in a habit was part of a caring community.
Shraddda, your response is what I hoped for. Some people would have shrugged and said, "So what!" but you did not. You clearly felt the pain and injustice of the disappearance. How such happenings fit into the great scheme of things is beyond my knowledge.
There is always a mystery surrounding the disappearance of people. I wish we could find them all. A missing elderly monk whose life was involved in spirituality and benevolence should have a happy ending. I hope the universe took care of him when he got lost and confused. It is not an easy feeling and my thoughts and views on lost people are not that positive. Not that worrying for them will solve anything. I hope there were better explanations and science for the rescue of such missing people.
Good points, but my mistake was to assume that readers knew North East Scotland. The area around the monastery is a land of cultivated fields, woods and villages. It is not a land where there are crevasses, so it is not like the better known mountainous Highlands.It is not land where there are deep bogs.
Animals that make lairs in Britain would be foxes and badgers, but while a pair of badgers have been known to pull a deer carcass, badgers do not have setts large enough to fit a human body, and the entrances are only large enough for badgers. Animals do not seem to be the explanation.
There are ponds and rivers, but no large lakes. Yes, it is conceivable that Maurus went into water, but the British police do have divers, who would have been used, though a river might sweep a body away. Water, though,seems a credible explanation. Weighed down with a sodden habit and shocked by the cold an elderly man would have suffered no chance.
As for the exponents of alien abduction, I think that we can leave them to argue the toss with those who believe that the fairies abduct people.
Inadequate searches might also be a factor.
You do not mention terrain. Could there have been a crevasse? Or, could wild beasts carried a body deep into a lair? Or, is there water? submerged bodies can become snagged beneath the water and not surface.
Well, I suppose there are some who would ask about alien abduction, but I doubt neither of us would believe such.