Belfast Telegraph

Devastated children of missing Helena McElhennon say they want her back for Christmas

Missing woman Helena McElhennon
Missing woman Helena McElhennon
Missing woman Helena McElhennon's Mitsubishi Outlander which was found near the Foyle Bridge
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The heartbroken children of missing Draperstown woman Helena McElhennon have said they hope their mum will come home for Christmas.

The 42-year-old mother of two girls and two boys was last seen over a week ago at around 11am in the area of the lay-by on the city end of the Foyle Bridge in Londonderry.

A black Mitsubishi Outlander driven by the missing Co Derry woman, who was suffering depression, was located in the area a short time later on Sunday, November 24.

Despite a series of searches co-ordinated by Foyle Search and Rescue, involving family and members of the public, as well as a plane being flown over the river, no other trace of Mrs McElhennon has been found.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Mrs McElhennon's younger sister Teresa Kidd said Helena, whose children are aged from one to 10, left the family home at around 9.30am to go to a shop the day she disappeared.

"The three older ones have all been told so they're all aware of what is going on," Mrs Kidd said.

"They just want their mammy home and they're worried. One of them said, 'All I want for Christmas is for mammy to come home'. It was devastating to hear."

She added: "She told the kids she was going to the shop to get stuff for breakfast. She was making a fry for them. And, then, she just never returned - so we contacted the police."

Teresa said Helena's husband Declan, who has been out looking for his wife, is "devastated" and "just wants her home safely".

Mrs Kidd, who has two brothers and two sisters, said one brother who lives in New Zealand flew home last Thursday "to be close to family and to get Helena home".

Police investigating her disappearance gathered at the Foyle Bridge yesterday morning in a bid to piece together her last known movements.

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Missing woman Helena McElhennon's Mitsubishi Outlander which was found near the Foyle Bridge

"I'm just clinging to hope - I hope somebody sees something from the reconstruction that will jog their memory," she said.

"We've no evidence to suggest that she's in the water and no evidence to suggest that she's not so we're just really in limbo waiting to hear something that confirms either, but it's just a waiting game.

"It's very hard as the days are going on, but we're still hoping and praying that she's somewhere and we'll get some information to get her home."

She added: "She has been suffering from depression so she hasn't been herself."

Teresa said the family have been overwhelmed by the level of support and urged people to "take a couple of minutes and look at her photo" in case it sparks a recollection.

"The public, the local and wider communities, have all been fantastic," she said.

"Strangers have offered help, jet skis and boats, and one local who owns a plane has had it out flying over the Foyle looking for her.

"Our priest has been praying for her, her local church was packed out with people praying for her the other night.

"The support that we have been shown is just unreal - both from people we know and people we don't know."

She added: "I would ask anyone who was in the area or who has dash cam footage from between Draperstown to Derry between 9.30 and 11am last Sunday to please check it. It may be crucial to us.

"Or if anyone has any information at all please call the police on the 101 number. They've been a great support and they've doing everything they can to help."

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