Police uncover 'significant new evidence' in William McCormick murder investigation
- Police are to carry out an underwater search in Castle Espie Wetlands
- National Crime Agency missing person expert consulted by PSNI
- Senior officer says family are "absolutely devastated"
Police have discovered "significant new evidence" into the disappearance of William McCormick.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery made the revelation at a police press conference on Thursday.
Mr McCormick, who is known as Pat, was last seen walking down Castle Street in Comber at around 10.45pm on May 30.
The 55-year-old's disappearance was changed to a murder inquiry after police reviewed the evidence.
Detective Chief Inspector Montgomery said that police had visited 137 premises and retrieved CCTV from each.
He said in some premises police had downloaded up to 96 hours of footage.
The Detective Chief Inspector revealed that police had conducted 15 searches in Comber and spoke to around 100 people which had also provided new evidence.
He said that police were still trying to locate Mr McCormick's clothes, his iPhone SE and his Ben Sherman watch.
Detective Chief Inspector McCormick said there would be a significant police operation in the coming days, including road stops on Thursday evening in Comber, handing out leaflets and appealing to the public for further information.
Police will also be conducting further searches, an underwater search team will conduct searches in the Castle Espie wet lands area on Friday and on Saturday there will be a significant route search in the Comber area with police and community rescue teams.
Detective Chief Inspector McCormick thanked the local community for all their support but asked that police and rescue teams be allowed to conduct the searches alone.
"I have consulted with the national lead for missing person at the National crime Agency for specialist advice," the Detective Chief Inspector said.
"It's been two weeks now since Pat has disappeared and his family are absolute devestated. They deserve to know what has happened to him.
"I'm making a direct appeal to those responsible, I have no doubt that in your life you have faced grief and buried love ones, I want you to think of Pat's family."
Detective Chief Inspector McCormick also made a number of direct appeals.
"Where you in Comber on Friday the 31st of May from 7am, specifically did you walk or drive into the car park at the rear of Castle Street, High Street?," he asked.
"This car park is adjacent to Supervalu and includes the Comber Pharmacy and LG's Fish and Chip shop.
"Did you see anyone in this car park acting suspiciously? I want you to cast your mind back to that morning. Did you see anyone walk from the flats on Castle Street into this car park via a wooden gate, carrying anything. Now that's very specific.
"If you were in that car park, in a car, if you have dashcam, please come forward and speak to the detectives.
"If you live in the Comber area, especially the Newtownards Road, Killinchy Road, the Ballygowan Road and the Belfast Road areas and you have your own private CCTV systems please make contact with my investigating officers."
Belfast Telegraph Digital