| 15.3°C Belfast

Noah Donohoe mum pleads: I want my son back

Hundreds of volunteers join search for teenager missing since Sunday


Noah Donohoe's mother Fiona

Noah Donohoe's mother Fiona

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Noah Donohoe

Noah Donohoe

Residents come together to help

Residents come together to help

PSNI officers check drains in north Belfast

PSNI officers check drains in north Belfast

Search and rescue teams in a park

Search and rescue teams in a park

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Noah Donohoe's mother Fiona

The distraught mother of missing schoolboy Noah Donohoe fought back tears as she appealed for the safe return of her son.

As hundreds of volunteers continued to search for the 14-year-old, who disappeared in north Belfast on Sunday evening, his mum Fiona said someone must have spotted "a half-naked boy", adding: "I just want my son back."

Ms Donohoe bravely watched on Wednesday as PSNI Superintendent Muir Clark urged people to check vacant homes, sheds and vehicles in an attempt to find the missing St Malachy's College Year 10 pupil.

Earlier, the south Belfast mother-of-one told the Belfast Telegraph of her anguish and pleaded for "just one person" to provide information that could bring Noah home safely to her.

"No one has come forward to say they saw him," said Fiona.

"I'm pleading with you, the public, did you see a young half naked boy on June 21? I need to know if there were any eyewitnesses, so please come forward.

"You may think it's insignificant but it could turn out to be really relevant. Please, please tell the police anything you know."

She added: "Someone must know where he is. I just want my son back."

In a social media post earlier, Ms Donohoe had asked people to allow their homes be searched so that shelter could be eliminated from the equation.

"My heart is broken I am begging people do this. I know I am asking a massive thing but if you knew my Noah he was the most thoughtful loving darling who does not deserve to be suffering or unfound," she wrote.

"Please hear my plea I am speaking for Noah my baby. Please think if it was your child I would let them search my home from top to bottom."

Supt Clark said officers believe Noah may have fallen off his bicycle and injured his head, causing him to become disorientated.

Police said the teenager got back on his bicycle, cycled into Northwood Road and took off his clothes.

He was later seen cycling naked, before then dropping his bicycle and walking towards a densely wooded area.

The detective asked members of the public to check their washing lines for missing items.

"We are working on the hypothesis that Noah may have suffered some injury, causing him to behave in a way that is not normal," Supt Muir said.

"He may be seeking either shelter because he has no clothing or money, or he may not realise where he is.

"That is why it's so important for members of the public to check their properties and cars."

A massive police operation, including the use of a search and rescue dog and a helicopter, has been ongoing since Sunday.

Police divers were also deployed on Tuesday to check drains in north Belfast.

We are basically just here doing our bit to bring Noah home to his friends and family. Caity Brown

Noah's skateboarding helmet, bicycle, Nike trainers, blue tie-dye hoodie and his mobile phone have been found. But police have not yet recovered his khaki green North Face jacket, grey sweat shorts and his khaki rucksack, which contained a Lenovo laptop.

Despite hundreds of volunteers coming forward to help, no trace of Noah's whereabouts has emerged so far.

A former teacher of the schoolboy, who also joined in the search, said they were determined to reunite Noah with his loved ones.

Caity Brown, who taught him at St Malachy's while she was on placement as a music teacher, said he was "a fantastic cello player and a usual teenage boy".

"We are basically just here doing our bit to bring Noah home to his friends and family," she said.

"I know everyone is so worried... it is absolutely phenomenal, seeing our communities come together to find a child. Because there is nothing more important than that."

Sean McCarry, of the Community Rescue Service (CRS), is also asking the public to check their homes.

"There's a very good chance that Noah's confused, doesn't understand who he is," he said.

"We're working on the assumption that he's gone to find shelter somewhere - in bushes, under a hedge, in someone's garden shed, or even in their house. He could've walked in through an open door.

"He's a not a danger to anyone. We're asking people to check their homes."

He added: "We don't know what's going on with Noah, but we do know this is totally out of character."

Darren Harper, who was leading a CSR team, said they were overwhelmed by the number of people who had joined in the search. "It's a great effort; so many people are out helping because they are available due to the lockdown," he said.

Another CRS voluneer, Sean McMullan, said there was "a great sense of community support" for the ongoing search.

"Everyone wants to find Noah," he said. "There is a lot of effort going into trying to bring this child home to his family."

Noah's mother meanwhile, was flanked by two aunts, Shona and Niamh, at the press conference on Tuesday.

They fought back tears as they heard Supt Clark say that everyone is "incredibly concerned" for his safety.

The policeman appealed to Noah directly to say he was not in any trouble and he also asked the teenager's friends to contact police with any information, no matter how trivial.

"This behaviour is completely outside of Noah's normal character," he said.

Noah's aunt Niamh said during the early part of the search on Tuesday that her nephew was "a great wee boy".

"Noah loves school, he loves his friends, he's a complete dote," she said.

She also said his family is desperate for answers.

"We have no idea what has happened," she said.

"We would ask members of the public to think about whether or not they've noticed anything unusual recently?

"Have you heard any noises? One woman thought she heard crying at midnight... information like that could be extremely helpful to the police."

Councillors Dean McCullough and Jim Crothers have both asked the community to knock doors and search surrounding areas.

Belfast Telegraph