Belfast Telegraph

We won't stop searching until we find our David, vows family

By Brendan McDaid

The father of a young man believed to have drowned 11 weeks ago has spoken of the hell he and his family are going through.

However, Joe Colhoun last night vowed that he will not stop searching until he brings the body of his 23-year-old son David home for burial.

David Colhoun, from the Donegal border town of Lifford, has not been seen since the early hours of Sunday, May 22.

On the night he vanished he got out of a police car in Strabane and ran off in the direction of the River Mourne, which straddles the border between the two towns.

Police followed the youth, who had been arrested earlier for minor offences, but it is understood they lost sight of him a short time later.

Joe Colhoun said his family's world has been turned upside down since. "It's a bad nightmare. There's no sleep, no living, there's nothing," he said.

"There was never a doubt in my mind that he is in the river. We will get him, it's just when is the problem. But we won't stop until we get him."

Mr Colhoun said the search for his son was still very much an active one, with help arriving daily from across Ireland.

"It is livelier now than it ever was" he said.

"I made a radio appeal recently and the response I got was unreal. Helicopters, underwater cameras, diving teams, volunteers have all been coming here.

"We are back now to searching where we started the search, at the joint of the Mourne and the Finn. I was out last night on the boat and met four different boats all searching for him."

Mr Colhoun travelled to Rathmullan recently to meet with another heartbroken parent, Londonderry woman Jackie McNair, whose son Sean (17) went missing after diving off the pier with friends.

Following a nine-day search, Sean's remains were recovered a week ago yesterday and he was buried on Thursday.

"She has been able to bury her son," Mr Colhoun said.

"It is 11 weeks now and there has been no sign of my boy but I will get him.

"The grieving is over now for me and it is just a matter of bringing him home and giving him a proper funeral."

A vigil will be held tomorrow at 8pm close to Lifford Bridge, with prayers for David and the search team.

Mr Colhoun said the strategy for going forward with the search would also be discussed at the gathering tomorrow.

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