Belfast Telegraph

Dark pall over a community that hoped against hope

CLAIRE WILLIAMSON AND MARIA MARSELLA

THE sun shines on the beautiful hills around Omagh. There are winding roads lined with trees, and greenery for which people come from miles to admire.

But, in Drumquin a community is shocked after the body of missing Lisa McGowan was found less than a mile from her home.

Nearly 200 people made up of relatives, friends and neighbours have searched tirelessly for the 44-year-old from Drumquin since she went missing on July 8.

Shop worker Gerald McKenna was part of the search teams and told the Belfast Telegraph: "Lisa to me was just a very pleasant person, very hospitable. I am delighted for Patrick that he has found closure. The whole town is stunned and we really feel for Paddy."

Lisa's husband Patrick McGowan, known as Paddy, never gave up hope and made a number of emotional appeals for people to help him to find his wife. But their worst fears were confirmed when Lisa's body was discovered close to the family home.

Local woman May McMenamin fought back tears as she described her great friend of many years.

She said: "I have known Lisa for 16 years and it is really very hard to believe that she is gone.

"There were hundreds out searching for her all day on Saturday.

"She was just very kind and really could not do enough for you. It is a tragedy, I have lost a great friend."

She continued: "She was a lovely person and there is not one bad word that could be said about her."

Mary McMenamin lived down the road from her.

She described Lisa as an active woman who enjoyed yoga, karate and said that Lisa was taking night classes at the local college.

One of Mary's fond memories of Lisa was going for walks in the scenic area with her dogs, she said: "Lisa was a very quiet person who kept to herself. The community has really pulled together but the whole town is in shock."

Local farmer Andy McClelland added that Lisa was a "very quiet, reserved woman".

Lisa's devastated family confirmed the news on the Facebook page they set up called Find Lisa McGowan, which has over 6,000 supporters. They led tributes to her as they posted: "On behalf of family and friends, we would like to inform you that Lisa was found late last night. Sadly Lisa is no longer with us.

"Paddy and Lisa's family want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. We've been overwhelmed by all the generosity and kindness at this difficult time."

Many took to Facebook to pay tribute. One tribute said: "RIP Lisa no more worries or troubles for her to face ever again; my heart goes out to her poor husband, family & friends hope you'se get the strength to get through this awful time."

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