Family's double sorrow: Mother to bury son near anniversary of father's murder
Tragedy has hit a family at Halloween for a second time.
Police have now confirmed that the body discovered on a beach in Co Donegal on Monday was that of Gregory Burns, the 48-year-old who went missing nine days ago.
In a double blow for the Eglinton family, Mr Burns' funeral will take place just as the family prepare to mark the anniversary of his father John's death.
He was among eight people murdered in the Greysteel massacre on October 30, 1993.
A post mortem examination was carried out on Mr Burns yesterday, but police are not treating his death as suspicious.
His body was discovered on a beach in Greencastle, Co Donegal on Monday, on the opposite side of Lough Foyle from his home in Eglinton and was later identified at Letterkenny General Hospital.
The discovery brings a sad conclusion to days of searching the fields and river along the Carnmoney Road area where he was last seen.
Gregory's mother, Nellie, sister, Jillian, and brother, Stephen, were comforted during their ordeal by friends and neighbours from the area who helped in the daily searches for him.
Jillian Burns said that the past week has been very difficult, but the family are grateful they will
now be able to lay Gregory to rest.
She said: “We started out so full of hope that Gregory would be found, but as the days went by that hope disappeared.
“But we are grateful that at least we got him home and his body wasn't lying for weeks or months, so we are taking comfort in that.
“Our biggest worry was that he didn't have his epilepsy medication with him and didn’t even have a coat with him.
“I knew when the police liaison officer rang me and told me to go to my mother's house as soon as possible that I wasn't going to get good news.
“This has been one of the most difficult weeks in all our lives.
“I haven't slept at all since the Sunday night Gregory disappeared.
“We were all the same and seeing Gregory on Monday was something none of us will get over,” she added.
“But I want to thank, on behalf of all of us, the people from Eglinton, Greysteel, Limavady and Derry who helped sustain us and we will never forget what they did for us this week.
“They helped the police look for Gregory day after day and called with us to say they were thinking about us and praying for us and we want them to know how much that meant to us.”
Mr Burns’ funeral arrangements will be announced by the family later.