A rusting car recovered from the River Bann on Saturday may hold answers to a 30 year old mystery.
Tobermore man James Patterson (54) vanished without trace on October 6, 1991.
Mr Patterson - who worked for the old DoE Roads Service and lived alone outside the small Co Londonderry village - was last seen visiting the Mid-Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt, where it is believed his sister was a patient.
Appeals for information about what happened to him went unanswered.
But in a statement issued on Saturday, the PSNI said that a Ford Orion car discovered at the bottom of the Bann at New Ferry, near Bellaghy, was "potentially linked" to the disappearance of Mr Patterson.
The PSNI carried out an operation yesterday to recover the car from the river bed.
Speaking ahead of the car's recovery, a police spokesperson said: "The Ford Orion, which was discovered by local Community Search and Rescue on Saturday, July 18, is potentially linked to the long term missing person James Patterson who went missing in 1991.
"Once the vehicle has been removed from the water, it will be subject to forensic examinations."
One eyewitness - who asked not to be named - described the scene at the water's edge yesterday as rescue teams worked to bring the car up from the depths of the river.
"There were about two dozen people there, some from the police, others from the Fire Service, as well as community volunteers, he said.
"The car had been dragged out of the river onto the bank, and covered with a blue tarpaulin.
"Police were turning away traffic - New Ferry is very popular for boating - and I'm sure there were more than a hundred people with boats or canoes heading for the slipway who were turned away from the scene."
The car was discovered by the Community Rescue Service (CRS), who carry out continuous checks at rivers and slipways around Northern Ireland.
CRS spokesman Sean McCarry explained: "We are briefed about all the historic missing person cases in Northern Ireland, because we do all the searches for the police.
"As part of an ongoing operation, we were scanning with our sonar to check around slipways etc, and we discovered a couple of objects - one of them being a car.
"Once we discovered the car, we carried out a further operation to see whether it was relevant or not.
"Once we believed it was relevant, we informed the police, and they began an operation to recover the car from the river.
"It wasn't a straightforward operation, but it's not something we've never done before.
"Hopefully, once the police do their forensic work, there may be a result that will clear up questions for a family somewhere," Mr McCarry added.
Ulster Unionist Party councillor Derek McKinney, who lives in Tobermore, said he too hoped there would be news that would bring closure to the Patterson family.
Mr Patterson's brother Willie died several years ago - without ever knowing what had happened to his brother, the councillor said.
"If there is something found, I just hope it will bring some sort of closure to the family," Mr McKinney told the Belfast Telegraph last night.