Police confirm recovered body that of murder victim Pat McCormick
Police have confirmed a body found in the search for murdered Comber man William 'Pat' McCormick is that of the father-of-four.
His body was recovered from a lake in the Ballygowan area by specialist divers on Tuesday afternoon.
The 55-year-old's family said that, while the last four weeks have been "devastating", they are grateful to have his body home for their final goodbyes.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery said: "First and foremost, my thoughts are with Pat's family as they come to terms with this. As a result of information received I conducted a number searches in lakes over three days and subsequently recovered Pat's body."
He also appealed to anyone with any information regarding the murder to come forward.
"How he was murdered and the motive remain part of my investigation and for that reason I am unable to make any further comment," he added.
Mr McCormick was last seen walking down Castle Street, in Comber, at around 10.45pm on Thursday May 30.
The father-of-four's disappearance was initially treated as a missing persons case, but it was quickly changed to a murder inquiry after police reviewed the evidence.
DCI Montgomery made a further appeal for help in tracing the whereabouts of a blue van with the registration number JLZ1672 and distinctive silver wings.
He asked motorists and pedestrians to think back to the following specific dates and times:
- On May 30th at approximately 23.30 heading country bound on the Killinchy Road. Did you see this distinctive van with the silver front wings? Where did it go?
- On May 31st at around 08.15 in the rear car park of Supervalu . Did you see the van parked up here? Did you see the driver? Did you see anyone at the van or any activity at the van? Later on at around 10.15 did you see it on the Killinchy Road heading in the direction of Lisbane. Did you see where it went? I need to ascertain where this van went.
- And later that day at around 14:00 did you see it travelling on the Old Ballygowan Road in Comber? Again, I need to know where this van went.
During their investigation, police have conducted 38 searches and spoken to 235 witnesses.
DCI Montgomery read out a statement on behalf of Mr McCormick's family.
It read: "The last six weeks have been devastating for his parents, brothers, wife and beautiful four children. However, we are grateful to now have Pat home for our final goodbyes and burial.
"A massive thank you to everyone for their support and prayers, especially the public Comber.
"As a family in mourning, we would ask for privacy. We know that the PSNI are doing everything they can for us, and Pat, to get justice."
In a separate statement, his wife Allison said: "I would like to thank their Comber community for all their help and the information that they have given police to help recover Pat. Myself and our four children are greatful."
Belfast Telegraph Digital