Belfast Telegraph

Please God don't let this be my sister... family's vain hope that body found was not missing Lizzie Greer

By CHRIS KILPATRICK

Even when a woman's body was found on the shores of Lough Neagh, the family of Lizzie Greer still clung desperately to the hope that it was not her.

It was the discovery of the devoted grandmother's engagement ring on a river bank close to her home that prompted a frantic search involving over 100 police and volunteers, divers, specially trained dogs and a PSNI helicopter.

In taking part, many risked their own lives by clambering along the treacherous banks of swollen rivers in atrocious weather conditions.

As they scoured the area, the community rallied behind their efforts and Lizzie's worry-stricken family, sharing the 46-year-old's picture thousands of times on Facebook.

It was on the social media site Ms Greer's sister voiced her desperation when a body was found less than 10 miles away, on Sunday morning, five days after the mother was last seen alive. News of the find was met with devastation with Margaret Healy posting on Facebook: "Please God don't let this be my sister xxx".

Within hours, Lizzie's relatives were informed their worst fears had been confirmed.

Their grief is compounded by not knowing what led to her sudden and unexplained disappearance.

Ms Greer was well-known throughout her home town of Ballymena and was a familiar face to customers at Tesco filling station in the Co Antrim town where she worked.

Many of those who knew her praised her as always having a smile on her face, describing her as somebody who loved to engage with customers, many of whom became friends.

Concerns were first raised when she failed to return home last Wednesday.

The last reported sighting of the mother-of-one was close to Sainsburys supermarket at about 5pm, less than half-a-mile from where she worked.

When last seen, Lizzie was wearing a maroon cardigan to below her waist with yellow bands and a yellow motif on the back, dark jeans and black shoes.

That description, and a recent picture of the devoted mother, was shared thousands of times on social media. A bridge over the River Braid in the area provided a short cut from that side of the town to Harryville, where Ms Greer's family lived.

Her sudden disappearance sparked searches by friends, family, police and the Community Rescue Service.

During an initial search of that area, volunteers discovered Ms Greer's engagement ring.

Fearing the worst, they scoured the banks of the Braid and River Maine for clues to her whereabouts.

Throughout Thursday, Friday and Saturday those on the ground were supported by a police helicopter.

On Sunday morning, that vast search was brought to an abrupt end, with the discovery of a woman's body on the shore of Lough Neagh, near Randalstown.

Those who had highlighted the search for Lizzie on Facebook used the same medium to express their sadness and sympathy when it ended in heartache.

One said: "Rest in paradise Liz you were a lovely friendly woman."

Another said: "So sad people don't know how well they are thought of, maybe we should say more often how much we appreciate others. Sleep tight, Lizzie."

A police spokesman expressed gratitude to all who had helped in the attempts to locate Lizzie.

"Police would like to thank the public for their help and support in the search for Elizabeth, particularly in sharing social media appeals for information," he said.

"The officers who have been with Elizabeth's family over the last few difficult days would also like to express their condolences."

A post-mortem examination was due to be carried out yesterday to confirm the cause of her death.

At this stage, Lizzie's wide circle of family and friends can only speculate as to why.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph