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Noah Donohoe: No evidence of foul play, say police as body found in storm drain believed to be missing Belfast teenager

Noah Donohoe

Police investigating the disappearance of Noah Donohoe have recovered a body from a storm drain complex close to where the Belfast teenager went missing.

Police said that they believe the body to be that of the missing 14-year-old.

The body was recovered in the north Belfast area just before 9.45am on Saturday morning.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday Superintendent Muir Clark said that while police "have no official identification, we believe it is the missing teenager Noah Donohoe".

He said that police had no reason to suspect foul play in the death.

Superintendent Muir told reporters that the storm drain was almost a kilometre long and the search was "extremely challenging".

"We did have access to the storm drain complex and it has been searched over the last number of days before we got to the end of the complex," he said.

"It's an extremely challenging environment in which to work and that is why it has taken the length of time to go through that complex.

"In my 30 years in the police, this is one of the most unusual missing person inquiries that I have dealt with."

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Superintendent Muir Clark

Superintendent Muir Clark

Stephen Hamilton

Superintendent Muir Clark

Superintendent Clark urged people to stop spreading rumours around the disappearance of the teenager.

"It is disappointing that I again need to call on people circulating a number of rumours about Noah's disappearance, which are completely without foundation," he said.

"This type of commentary and rumour is distressing for Noah's family and is extremely unhelpful.

"An investigation into the circumstances of Noah's disappearance is still continuing but there is no evidence to suggest foul play.

"If people post distasteful and patently untrue rumours on social media, we will investigate that."

Following the press conference police released a statement saying they were "aware of reports of groups of people planning to gather this evening in north Belfast in relation to the death of Noah Donohoe".

"We would urge anyone thinking of attending to stay at home," the statement read.

The St Malachy's College pupil went missing last Sunday evening.

He failed to return to his south Belfast home after venturing out on his black Apollo mountain bike around 5.30pm that afternoon.

First Minister Arlene Foster said her "heart goes out to Noah's family".

"Absolutely devastating. The community acted as one in the search & I know they will also support Noah’s family at this time of heart rending grief," she tweeted.

The DUP leader paid tribute to police, rescue groups and the local community for their "tireless efforts".

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said news that a body had been discovered was "heartbreaking".

"The whole community has been left numb after six days of searches. Sincere sympathy and condolences to his mother Fiona, family and friends at this awful time," she said.

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said his thoughts were with Noah's family and paid tribute to those who took part in the search operation.

Sinn Fein MP John Finucane also offered his condolences.

"This is tragic and heart breaking news for his family and friends and all who knew him, as well as the entire community who were involved in the search for him over recent days," the North Belfast MP said.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Frank McCoubrey said he knew he spoke for the entire city when offering condolences to Noah's family, while Deputy Lord Mayor Paul McCusker said it was "news that nobody wanted to hear".

Police said Noah had cycled along Northwood Road, where he abandoned all his clothing before being spotted a short time later cycling while naked. Police believe he then dropped his bicycle and left the area on foot.

His green backpack containing a the 14-year-old's laptop and a book was recovered on Friday, after his bicycle, helmet, training shoes, mobile phone and other items of clothing had already been found.

Noah's disappearance led to widespread searches in north Belfast with police, rescue teams and the local community coming together to try and find the missing teenager.

Belfast Telegraph