Family praises search teams as body found in Limavady
Search teams using specialist equipment have located and recovered a body from the River Roe in Limavady, believed to be that of missing man James Frew.
While the body will not be formally identified until dental records are examined, his family say they are confident it is him.
Relatives raised the alarm after their pet dog was found tied up in the Roe Valley Country Park near to where the 63-year-old grandfather's coat and wallet were discovered in December.
Mr Frew's daughter Tammie said the 15 weeks since her father went missing had taken its toll on the whole family but they remained strong for their mother's sake.
She said: “We got a phone call around 11.30pm on Wednesday to say that a body had been recovered from the River Roe and that they were pretty confident it was my father which was a big shock to all of us.
“We were not aware the search was on at that time of night but while we still won't know for sure it’s my father until he is formally identified from dental records, we know it is him.
“This brings a degree of closure to us as a family and we can now begin the grieving process.
“We have tried so hard to maintain a routine for the sake of the grandchildren. You are constantly wondering, ‘Will this be the day daddy is found?’
“My mother's health is not great and we are concerned that she is not put under any additional stress. These have been tough weeks for all of us, made worse by nasty, vicious rumours that went around the town that we knew perfectly well where my father was all along.
“We knew there was something wrong on the Saturday daddy disappeared because he took the dog for a walk.
“The dog has been in our family for 10 years. He is old and daddy didn't like any of us taking him for long walks so when we realised he had set off with the dog the alarm bells rang.”
Spearheading the search for Mr Frew was the Community Rescue Service led by Sean McCarry, who explained how conditions allowed them to make use of specialist equipment to locate and recover the body.
He said: “The weather conditions and river flow were such that we knew it was the right time to search a particular stretch of the river with this specialist equipment and within 20 minutes of the search we located a body.”
The volunteers from the Community Rescue Service have combed the river and its banks since December 12 when Mr Frew’s family reported him missing and yesterday his daughter paid tribute to them.
She said: “We will never be able to thank them enough for everything they have done and we must pay tribute to the police for everything they’ve done.”
“This brings a degree of closure to us as a family and we can now begin the grieving process, but I would like people to give us time and space to do that and not come to the house. We have tried so hard to maintain a routine for the sake of the grandchildren.”
- Tammie Frew