Belfast Telegraph

'It's like he vanished in a puff of smoke': Sister tells of her growing fears for Steven McCloskey's welfare

By Donna Deeney

A pot of food brought by neighbours grows cold on the cooker of the home of Rosaleen and Joseph McCloskey, the last place their son Steven was seen 11 days ago.

They, along with the rest of their family and Steven's partner and three children, are too distraught to think about eating.

Their only focus is in finding Steven.

But as each day passes, their anxiety increases and it seems they may be starting to doubt if he will come back.

Steven left his mother's house 11 days ago with a cheery "I'm away Ma", the same way he left thousands of times before.

There was nothing to make her worry, and when he didn't arrive at the home he shares with his partner Sinead and their three children, no one was unduly concerned.

It was not out of character for Steven to take himself off with his mates for a while.

But when he failed to show up in time to help his children celebrate Halloween, alarms bells started ringing.

Steven's brother contacted the police, but when they told him the black Nissan Terrano four -wheel-drive Steven drove had been located in Burt across the Donegal border, the family were left completely perplexed.

Steven's mother Rosaleen is clearly bewildered as to how her son could seemingly disappear into thin air.

She said: "We have no idea where he is or how no one has seen him at all since he left my house.

"It is just a mystery that I cannot get my head around how could there not be a trace of him anywhere. It makes no sense.

"We just want him back, that's all. We want him home but as each day passes I am starting to fear the worst but hope for the best.

"I believe in a higher power and I pray that I will get him back, one way or another. I cried for the first time yesterday because I wouldn't let myself cry. We are trying to stay strong for Sinead and the children.

"They are in a bad way and she is like my own daughter. They are our family and we want Steven back with them."

Steven's sister Lisa and the rest of the family circle are staying proactive and have put posters up all over Derry asking the public to be on the lookout for Steven.

She said the level of support they have been given by people has help sustain them and has helped her remain hopeful for a positive outcome.

She said: "People are so incredibly good, they turn out with us every day to search for Steven. Every day they come with food for us so we don't have to think about cooking - but most of the time we are too distracted to eat.

"We go to Burt every day and we have been through all the fields and lanes where Steven's car was found but there is nothing.

"The Garda have scaled up the search now and brought in their helicopter and the Coastguard, but there is not a trace of Steven.

"It is like he disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"Not one person has seen him since he left my mother's house. How can that be when the whole of Derry knows Steven?

"I know it is hard to stay positive but I am. I can't think anything other than he is out there somewhere and he is alive. I can't give up hope."

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