Belfast Telegraph

We’ll never give up on her, vows Lisa Dorrian’s father as search called off search

Officers searching for Lisa Dorrian beside Ballyhalbert caravan park on the Ards Peninsula in Co Down last month
Officers searching for Lisa Dorrian beside Ballyhalbert caravan park on the Ards Peninsula in Co Down last month
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

The father of a Co Down woman who went missing 14 years ago has vowed his family will not give up hope after police confirmed the latest search for her body would end.

A large operation was launched in April at the caravan park in Ballyhalbert where Lisa Dorrian (25) was last seen alive.

The effort utilised new technology to extend the search to a disused airfield.

The missing woman's father John Dorrian said it had been hard to manage expectations, but he will not be disheartened by the setback.

"The police have put a lot of resources into this search, as they have done over the years," he told this newspaper.

"This was a fine search, but they still have a lot of work to do. Even though it will end, it won't be straight away.

"There's a lot of drains and waterways underneath the old airfield. That has to be drained before they can be searched.

"The PSNI have other things they have to do and we've had regular meetings with them to stay up to date.

"We're totally behind what the police are doing and each day we hope we get some news.

"Everybody has been very reactive to any information that comes out and we've got a lot of moral support.

"Everyone I speak to asks me if there's any news. We're very hopeful that something will happen.

"Because it's been 14 years and there have been some developments, we do control ourselves a certain amount.

"This has obviously been a very big operation, so it is unavoidable that your hopes go up."

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy is leading the operation.

"Those searches are likely going to come to a conclusion in the fairly near future and I suppose the question for us and for the Dorrian family is, 'What's next?'. The answer at the minute (is something) I just don't have," he told UTV.

"I'm going to take some time at the end of these searches to reflect and see what, if anything, needs to be done next.

"I've said to Lisa's family many times that money and resources won't be the obstacle to seeking and finding Lisa's body.

"Equally, what I cannot do is go looking for a needle in a haystack without some degree of science, or some degree of confidence, that tells me that the haystack is the right place to be looking."

To date police have pursued more than 3,500 lines of inquiry, leading to almost 400 searches over land, air and sea, since Ms Dorrian went missing in February 2005.

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