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Noah Donohoe: Police say investigation still 'very much a missing persons enquiry'

Public urged to step back in search for missing Belfast boy

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Superintendent Muir Clark gave an update to media in relation to missing teenager Noah Donohoe today at Musgrave Police Station. Credit: Pacemaker Press

Superintendent Muir Clark gave an update to media in relation to missing teenager Noah Donohoe today at Musgrave Police Station. Credit: Pacemaker Press

A backpack similar to the one carried by Noah

A backpack similar to the one carried by Noah

Police search close to Crusaders Seaview football ground in north Belfast for Noah Donohoe following an overnight review of CCTV on June 25th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Police search close to Crusaders Seaview football ground in north Belfast for Noah Donohoe following an overnight review of CCTV on June 25th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Superintendent Muir Clark gave an update to media in relation to missing teenager Noah Donohoe today at Musgrave Police Station. Credit: Pacemaker Press

Police in Belfast have renewed their appeal in the search for missing teenager Noah Donohoe and confirmed there have been no new sightings since Sunday.

Speaking at Musgrave Police Station, Superintendent Muir Clark said it was still "very much a missing persons enquiry".

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Chief Constable Simon Byrne visits a search location as searches continue close to the Shore Road in north Belfast for Noah Donohoe on June 25th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Chief Constable Simon Byrne visits a search location as searches continue close to the Shore Road in north Belfast for Noah Donohoe on June 25th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Chief Constable Simon Byrne visits a search location as searches continue close to the Shore Road in north Belfast for Noah Donohoe on June 25th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

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.

Police have released a photo of a similar Trespass backpack to the one Noah was carrying.

He also called on the public to give the police and rescue professionals the space to do their work, adding that 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," he 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 sightings of Noah since 6.11pm on Sunday."

Noah Donohoe

He continued: “We know that Noah cycled into Northwood Road where he abandoned all his clothing as he is seen a short time later cycling while naked.

He added: “We believe then Noah dropped his bicycle and left the area on foot. 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 any one 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.

“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.

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Search and rescue teams in north Belfast search for missing Noah Donohoe on June 24th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Search and rescue teams in north Belfast search for missing Noah Donohoe on June 24th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Search and rescue teams in north Belfast search for missing Noah Donohoe on June 24th 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

“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 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 the search and on Wednesday drains were inspected by officers.

Noah's school, St Malachy's, has described the teenager 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 from the school reads.

"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."

Emergency services have called on the public to take a step back in the search.

The position, which is supported by Noah's family, comes after search teams were hampered in their efforts due to hundreds of community volunteers taking part on Wednesday evening.

Noah, a St Malachy's College pupil, was last seen in north Belfast on Sunday evening.

Police said they believe he may have fallen off his bicycle and suffered a head injury, causing him to become disorientated. It is understood he then got back on his bicycle and travelled along Northwood Road, where he took off his clothes.

He was later seen cycling naked, before he abandon his bicycle and walked toward a nearby wooded area.

Despite searches involving police, search dogs, a helicopter, the Community Rescue Service and scores of community volunteers, Noah has not been found.

In a statement endorsed by the Donohoe family, emergency services called on volunteers to desist from joining the search operation.

"Following conversations with the PSNI and Rescue Service we are respectfully asking community volunteers to step back unless otherwise instructed," the statement read.

"This position has been fully endorsed by the family. On behalf of the family we want to thank you all for your selfless efforts in the search for Noah Donohoe. It has been a true reflection of our community spirit."

Noah's distraught mother Fiona has urged the public on Wednesday to check their sheds, garages and outbuildings in case the teenager sought shelter.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Donohoe pleaded: "I just want my son back."

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

"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."

Police said they have recovered Noah's black crash helmet, black Nike trainers with yellow tick, blue tie-die hoody, bicycle, and mobile phone. They have not yet found his green khaki North Face coat, grey sweat shorts and a green backpack containing a Lenova laptop.

Belfast Telegraph