Belfast Telegraph

Search for Strabane woman Lesley McHugh 'to continue until she is located'

By Donna Deeney

Searches are continuing for Strabane woman Lesley McHugh (69) who has been missing for 12 days.

The 69-year-old mother-of-three - who is described as approximately 5'6" tall, of slim build with brown hair - was last in contact with her family around 11pm on Saturday evening, January 6

Sean McCarry, regional commander and search manager of the Community Search Rescue, said despite the horrendous weather conditions, the daily searches for Mrs McHugh will continue.

He said: "We began the search after Mrs McHugh was reported missing on Saturday, January 6.

"Her car was located around 500 metres from her home and the search spread out from there and that led us to the River Mourne.

"We have concentrated our efforts at the river although we do go over previous ground, but our main focus is the river.

"We have endured incredible unkind weather, but it is January and we are prepared to deal with even the harshest conditions.

"However, we would appeal to members of the public who want to help look for Mrs McHugh who are untrained to be very, very careful because the last thing we need is for someone to hurt themselves or get into difficulties while searching.

"The weather does undoubtedly increase the danger to members of the public, but we - like the police and other search organisations - are trained to cope with these types of conditions."

Mr McCarry praised the community for their response to Mrs McHugh's disappearance.

He said: "She is a very well known and liked lady and understandably people want to do what they can to help her family at this very traumatic time.

"The response from local businesses too has been tremendous.

"A steady supply of hot food and beverages has sustained people taking part in the search, which will continue until Mrs McHugh is found."

PSNI Inspector Alison Ferguson reiterated the need for people taking part in the search to take care.

She said: "Searches are ongoing along the River Mourne into the River Foyle and police would appeal for those searching to be mindful of their own personal safety given the current weather conditions."

Anyone who knows of Mrs McHugh's whereabouts or who may have any information to assist police are asked to contact the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 655 of 07/01/18.

Belfast Telegraph

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