Belfast Telegraph

Fresh searches for missing Arlene

New searches are under way for a missing schoolgirl feared murdered in Northern Ireland, police have revealed.

Arlene Arkinson, 15, disappeared after leaving a disco in Bundoran, Co Donegal, in August 1994.

Specialist search dogs are being used to help officers check isolated land outside Castlederg, Co Tyrone, where the teenager lived with her family.

A police statement said: "The sites to be covered in this phase of the search strategy have links to the overall investigation into Arlene's disappearance and murder.

"Searches will continue to be conducted on a planned roll-out, depending on weather conditions, availability of resources and operational commitments."

A 61-year-old man who was with Arlene in the hours before she went missing was acquitted of her murder in 2005.

Robert Howard lived close to Arlene's home. He is now serving a life sentence in England for the murder and rape of a teenage girl whose body was found in a cement works in Northfleet, Kent, in March 2002.

He is to be called to give evidence at a Belfast Coroner's Court inquest into Arlene's death after police review thousands of documents and papers linked to the investigation. A preliminary date for the delayed hearing is in September.

Arlene's sister Kathleen said she would never give up hope of finding the body. Previous police searches have centred on land close to the Donegal border.

At her home, she said: "It has been so, so long, but I'll never give up. It has taken an awful toll on me, especially the delay in holding the inquest. You cannot keep playing with people's minds like this. There are times when I just don't want to leave the house, but I know the people involved in the search are doing their best. I appreciated that."

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