Belfast Telegraph

Dean McIlwaine and his distraught family are in our prayers, but we can also help by joining the search for this young man

Editor's Viewpoint

The agony of waiting to hear of the whereabouts of a missing family member is graphically underlined in our interview today with Karen and Rod McIlwaine, whose son Dean disappeared on July 13.

He was last seen in the Carnmoney Road area, and despite extensive inquiries by the police, and by his family and friends, he has not yet been located.

It is almost impossible for any of us who are not in that awful situation to be able to comprehend the suffering of Dean's parents and wider family.

His mother said, in her grief: "You have to keep going because I have to find him, how can I live like this, if I don't find him? Not knowing is worse than a death."

His distraught dad Rod added: "I just want him home. If he's out there, please don't be frightened to come home, son. You have nothing to worry about - we'll take care of you."

In a particularly poignant gesture, his girl-friend is leaving her door unlocked during the night just in case Dean may walk in, and she and her friends are taking turns staying awake to make sure no unwanted intruder enters the front door.

There are so many stories of people missing, over the long term, that it is easy to forget the trauma of those most closely involved.

The details of Dean's story would melt a heart of stone, and people who are touched by this will want to help as best they can.

The police and Dean's family and friends are doing everything possible, but there is one way you might help.

The police are carrying out a search today in the Cave Hill area of north Belfast, so if you are available to join, you would be welcome.

You might already live in the area, or you might happen to be somewhere nearby, for the day. Either way, you could consider helping by joining in the search for as long as you can.

In the meantime, Dean McIlwaine and his parents, and his wider family and friends, are in all our thoughts and prayers.

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