| 12.4°C Belfast

Noah Donohoe: I've taken comfort in so many helping to look for him, says distraught mum as search continues

Close

Noah Donohoe’s aunt Shona, mum Fiona and aunt Niamh during a press conference on Wednesday on the search for the missing teenager

Noah Donohoe’s aunt Shona, mum Fiona and aunt Niamh during a press conference on Wednesday on the search for the missing teenager

PA

Search and rescue teams hunt for Noah Donohoe close to York Road in north Belfast for Noah Donohoe following an overnight review of CCTV on June 26th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Search and rescue teams hunt for Noah Donohoe close to York Road in north Belfast for Noah Donohoe following an overnight review of CCTV on June 26th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Noah Donohoe

Noah Donohoe

PA

A backpack similar to one Noah had with him

A backpack similar to one Noah had with him

Simon Byrne at a search site

Simon Byrne at a search site

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

PSNI Supt Muir Clark gives update accompanied by Search and Rescue unit commander Darren Harper

PSNI Supt Muir Clark gives update accompanied by Search and Rescue unit commander Darren Harper

Noah Donohoe’s aunt Shona, mum Fiona and aunt Niamh during a press conference on Wednesday on the search for the missing teenager

The mother of missing schoolboy Noah Donohoe said she has been greatly comforted by the efforts of people in Northern Ireland to find her son.

Her words came after members of the public were asked to take a step back to allow specialist teams to concentrate on the search for the 14-year-old, who hasn't been seen since Sunday evening.

Fiona Donohoe said her teenage son would be one of the first to volunteer his help in a similar situation.

"So many people have been out looking for Noah and that has meant so much to me," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The community has really come together during the search and it has been a great comfort.

"Noah was all about community. If Noah was here and a child had gone missing, he would have been the first person out looking for them. That's the kind of boy he is."

The heartbroken south Belfast mother was speaking on the fourth day of her only child's disappearance.

On Thursday, the First and Deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill, said they'd been moved by the community response to Noah's disappearance.

"These past few days people of Belfast and beyond have rallied around the Donohoe family by getting behind efforts to locate Noah, and as people of all backgrounds have scoured the streets of the city we have seen Belfast at its best," Mrs Foster said.

"We know all of you will continue to work with the police as they try to locate Noah."

The PSNI confirmed there have been no sightings of Noah since 6.11pm on Sunday, June 21 and renewed their appeal for information that could lead to his safe return.

Superintendent Muir Clark, speaking at Musgrave Police Station on Thursday, said it was still "very much a missing persons enquiry". He made a specific appeal for sightings of some of the teenager's missing items - including a green backpack containing a laptop and a copy of the book 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B Peterson.

He also called on the public to give the police and rescue professionals the space to do their work, adding that various rumours in the community about Noah's whereabouts had been "extremely unhelpful".

"We know that Noah left his home in south Belfast on June 21 at approximately 5.30pm on his black Apollo mountain bike," Supt Muir said.

"Despite a significant search operation involving local and specialist officers, specialist police dogs, our air support unit and assistance from Community Search and Rescue colleagues and the public, there has been no confirmed sighting of Noah since 6.11pm on Sunday."

Supt Muir said police "know that Noah cycled into Northwood Road where he abandoned all his clothing as he is seen a short time later cycling while naked".

"We believe then Noah dropped his bicycle and left the area on foot," he said.

"We have not yet found his khaki green North Face coat, grey sweatshorts and green backpack containing a laptop and a copy of the book 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B Peterson.

"We need to find these outstanding items; if anyone has found these items and not yet come forward, please contact us immediately."

Thanking those who had contacted police, Mr Muir said police had received and discounted a number of potential sightings as well as CCTV and dashcam footage. "We have also checked items of clothing which have been found in the area but so far none of those items belong to Noah," he said.

"I want to pay particular tribute to the people of north Belfast who have assisted with the search, and for those people who have allowed us to check through their premises.

"I appreciate that everyone wants to help, but I need the public to give both the police and our Community Search and Rescue colleagues some space to ensure that we have covered every possible area."

Meanwhile, police have carried out searches in the Shore Road area close to the Crusaders football ground in the operation to find Noah.

It is understood the move was prompted by CCTV footage which showed an adult male in the area pushing two bikes around 45 minutes after Noah's last sighting. It is not known if one of them was Noah's bike or indeed if the matter is related.

The Belfast Telegraph was shown the footage. The man can be seen emerging from an alleyway close to the football ground and the nearby furniture store and heading toward the Shore Road.

Police carried out searches in the area on Thursday morning; however, it is thought nothing was uncovered. The area has been the focus of searches and on Wednesday and Thursday drains were inspected by officers.

St Malachy's College has described the missing pupil as a "most valued and popular member of our Year 10 group of boys".

"Noah is an industrious and intelligent academic and immerses himself in the extra-curricular life of the college through music and sports," a statement said.

"As a talented cellist, he is a member of various ensembles within school. Our sports coaches describe Noah as a personable, good-humoured and very kind person who displays impressive competitive and athletic skills on the sports field.

"The entire college family continues to keep Noah and his family in our constant thoughts and prayers."

Belfast Telegraph