Police probe possible drugs link to death of Northern Ireland schoolgirl - plea for witnesses
Police in Northern Ireland are investigating a possible drugs link to the death of a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Portadown.
It is believed the Craigavon High School pupil died in a woodland area of Corcrain on Saturday night.
The school's assistant principal Hilary Woods told BBC NI that the child's death was "a tragic loss for the family and our school community".
PSNI Area Commander, Chief Inspector Joe McMinn said: "Police responded to the Corcrain area of Portadown yesterday at around 6pm, following reports that a teenage girl was unconscious."
An ambulance took the girl to Craigavon Area Hospital where she died a short time later.
“At this early stage of the investigation, one of our lines of enquiry is a possible link to drugs," he said.
“A post mortem examination will be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.
"There were a large number of young people in the Corcrain area when police arrived and we are appealing to anyone who was in that area yesterday and who has any information which could help us with our enquiries to contact police on 101 quoting reference 994 of 20/05/17.
“If someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Expressing his shock and sadness, Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd said: "The entire community is in shock at this tragic news. I understand the PSNI are investigating the circumstances of the girl's death and I would urge anyone with information to come forward."
The DUP's David Simpson said: " To hear of a life ending in such circumstances is horrific for everyone but none more than family and friends. A young life cut down so early. The scene is one of tragedy and devastation.
"I have spoken with the PSNI and youth agencies to ensure we have support services for those who require immediate counselling and feel this great loss."
The UUP's Doug Beattie said: "The tragic death of a young teenage girl in the Corcrain woodland area of Portadown on Saturday evening, has devastated the local community.
“Local people are shocked that something so awful could happen in their community. This is a terrible tragedy for the young girl, her family and friends and the community at large.”