The drug addict who found tragic Noah Donohoe's bag fears he is being made a scapegoat for the teenager's death.
Daryl Paul, who is serving a six-month prison sentence for a series of thefts, had nothing to do with the 15-year-old's disappearance.
But that has not stopped him being the target for vicious online rumours that he feels are putting his life at risk.
Friends of Paul spoke to Sunday Life about his concerns after he was jailed for six months for multiple thefts.
A close pal said: "Daryl is being made a scapegoat by some people for Noah's death. He had nothing to do with it but that hasn't stopped the crazy rumours which are putting his life at risk."
Paul found Noah's backpack containing his laptop near the Yorkgate shopping complex in north Belfast after the St Malachy's College pupil went missing on June 21.
Not knowing who owned the computer, the 33-year-old criminal tried to sell it at the Cash Converters second-hand store in the city centre. But staff refused to buy the laptop because the charger was missing.
Paul then left both it and the bag with a female drug addict friend from west Belfast, who at the time was living in accommodation near Queen's University.
On June 25 police searching for Noah released images of his distinctive green Trespass rucksack. A Cash Converters worker recognised it and contacted the PSNI. Officers then viewed CCTV footage from the shop which led them to Daryl Paul.
When told it belonged to Noah - who at that stage was still missing - he broke down in tears and brought them straight to the laptop and bag. Police thanked him for his assistance and he made a witness statement.
Two days later Noah's drowned body was found in an unlocked storm drain in the Shore Road area of north Belfast.
Despite reports to the contrary, Paul has not been questioned by the PSNI about any theft offences. The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has yet to receive a file on this claim or any other matter connected to Noah's death.
Last Tuesday, Paul was convicted at Belfast Magistrates Court of multiple counts of theft, burglary, handling stolen goods and driving offences.
The targets of his crime spree included Asda, Tesco and Boots stores from which he shoplifted vacuum cleaners, steam irons, perfume and bottles of vodka. He also admitted being in possession of a stolen TV and driving while under the influence of drugs.
The convictions bring Paul's criminal record to more than 60 offences, which include a four-and-a half-year jail term imposed in 2011 for robbery, hijacking and possessing a firearm.
The north Belfast man blames his behaviour on a crippling heroin addiction, which he says has blighted his life. Paul also insists this is why he tried to sell Noah Donohoe's laptop at a second-hand store - to get money for drugs.
His friend added: "When Daryl found the bag containing the laptop he had no idea it was Noah's, if he had known he would have handed it straight over. He co-operated fully with the police and made a witness statement explaining all of this."
Although the PSNI is continuing to investigate the circumstances around Noah's death, a spokeswoman said it is doing so on behalf of the coroner.
She explained: "This is an ongoing coronial investigation and, as such, any enquiries should be directed to the coroner's office."
Coroner Joe McCrisken is adamant that there is "no evidence" to suggest that any other person was involved in Noah's death.
He told a preliminary inquest how he wanted to set out "fact against fiction" in order to "dispel the many baseless and inaccurate rumours which continue to circulate".
Referring to far-fetched internet speculation about Noah being killed or chased to his death, Mr McCrisken said: "Some individuals have chosen not to respect my request and the request of the family and rumours, speculation and conspiracy theories continue to be circulated.
"I consider that, based upon all of the evidence before me at this stage, and the evidence includes extensive CCTV footage and witness statements, that Noah acted alone when he travelled to Northwood Road and entered the drain system.
"At present there is no evidence linking Noah's death to the death of any other individual or with an attack on any other individual or individuals in that area or in close proximity to Northwood Road.
"There is no evidence at present to suggest that any other person was involved in Noah's disappearance and death."
Despite these clear words from the coroner, conspiracy theorists continue to suggest there was a sinister motive to Noah going missing.
The threat of prosecution from the Attorney General for contempt of court has did little to quell the baseless speculation, with Daryl Paul caught in the crossfire.
His friend told Sunday Life: "Daryl is really worried that he or his family could be targeted because he has been falsely linked to Noah's disappearance.
"Yes, he has a lengthy criminal record, but that doesn't mean he was responsible for Noah going missing, and he definitely has no connection to loyalist paramilitaries, in fact, he has been threatened by them in the past."
"Daryl never met the wee lad in his life and his heart goes out to the Donohoe family," added his friend.
"That's why he took the police straight to Noah's bag and laptop when he realised he had found it."