Family's worst fears realised as body discovered in river is missing Derry father-of-three
Police in the Republic have confirmed the body discovered in a Donegal river at the weekend was that of missing Londonderry man Steven McCloskey.
Gardai also ruled out foul play in the death of the 33-year-old, whose body was found at Carrowreagh, Bridgend, on Sunday.
Results of a post-mortem carried out on the body of Mr McCloskey, who had been missing from his home since October 28, showed his death was not suspicious.
Family members were too distraught to talk to the media last night. Mr McCloskey's partner Sinead is expecting their fourth child, but will now be preparing to bury the father of her children.
A Garda spokesman said: "We are not treating the death of a man whose body was discovered near Bridgend in Co Donegal as suspicious following the results of a post-mortem."
Friends took to Facebook to express their condolences to the young father's family. Rachel Ward wrote: "Stevey McCloskey such a nice fella and may you rest in peace."
Bernadette McConnell wrote: "I hope God gives you all the strength to get through this sad time." And Eileen Mallon added: "God bless him and God take care of his young family".
Less than 24 hours before Mr McCloskey's body was discovered by members of a gun club wedged into a river bank a short distance from where his Nissan jeep had been found abandoned, his mother Rosaleen had told the Belfast Telegraph she was praying for his return "one way or another".
A holy candle had remained lit in the kitchen of Mr and Mrs McCloskey's home as each day of the search grew into another without any real news.
Mrs McCloskey had previously said that as the length of time without her son grew so did her fears of a tragic outcome.
She said: "I am expecting the worst but I believe in a higher power and I just want my son home, one way or another."
On Sunday, following the discovery of the body, the family called off their daily searches in the area in Burt where Steven's black Nissan Terrano jeep had been discovered.
Steven was described as a man totally dedicated to his children.
While it had not been unknown for Steven to go off with his friends for a day or two, when he failed to return home in time to help his three children celebrate Halloween the family knew something was wrong.
His funeral will take place later this week in Derry.
Timeline to tragedy
October 28: The last time Steven McCloskey was seen. His family said it wasn't unusual for him to go off with friends for a few days.
November 2: When he did not return home for family celebrations at Halloween concern increased and police released an appeal for information.
November 9: A search is stopped after a body is found in a river. The search had switched to Donegal after his Terrano jeep was found there.
November 10: Gardai confirm the body is that of Mr McCloskey.