A major search for a missing woman from Northern Ireland is continuing one week on from her disappearance.Police are pursuing a criminal investigation
A major search for a missing woman from Northern Ireland is continuing one week on from her disappearance.
Police are pursuing a criminal investigation into the disappearance of Chloe Mitchell, 21, of Ballymena, County Antrim.
A 26-year-old man was arrested in Lurgan, County Armagh, on Thursday in connection with the case and was still in police custody this afternoon.
Ms Mitchell was last seen on CCTV in the early hours of June 3 in Ballymena town centre.
Several of the searches have focused on the area around the Braid River in the Co Antrim town.
Chloe Mitchell, 21, of Ballymena, County Antrim, vanished in the town centre in the early hours of June 3
Search and Rescue teams on the bank of the River Braid in Ballymena
Searches have expanded to the nearby Braid River, although it is not believed that Ms Mitchell got into difficulties in the water
The Community Search and Rescue organisation has been assisting police in the operation.
On Friday, a senior police officer expressed hope Ms Mitchell is safe and well. Superintendent Gillian Kearney said police are treating her as a ‘high-risk missing person’.
Ms Mitchell’s brother Phillip has urged anyone with information to contact the family.
Asked by the BBC how much he is missing his sister, he said on Friday: ‘Words just can’t describe it, I am broke.’
Ms Mitchell was last seen by her family on Friday June 2 and was then captured in the late hours of that day and the early hours of Saturday June 3 in Ballymena town centre on CCTV.
She was walking in the direction of James Street in the town.
Darren Harper, district commander for Community Rescue Service, said search efforts on Thursday had allowed them to eliminate some areas.
‘Today’s search is going to be just a continuation on from the search areas yesterday, just eliminating the areas that Chloe may not be in,’ he said.
Mr Harper said his team was well-equipped to deal with the difficulties in searching the steep embankment of the River Braid.
‘We do have a tech team that will be able to get down there, so it’s not going to be so much of a challenge,’ he said.
‘It’s just because of the low light yesterday when this search area was identified within our search strategy. It was just a lot safer for our guys to try and access it during daylight hours.’
Ground teams searched the areas around the river but also close to a property in James Street, near to Ms Mitchell’s last known whereabouts, which had been cordoned off by police.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon, Mid and East Antrim District Commander Superintendent Gillian Kearney appealed to the public to come forward with any information
Philip Mitchell, the brother of missing Chloe Mitchell said he is ‘broken’ and ‘increasingly concerned’ as police search for the missing 21-year-old six days after she disappeared
Darren Harper, district commander for Community Rescue Service, said search efforts on Thursday had allowed them to eliminate some areas (pictured: searchers on Friday)
Search and Rescue teams on the bank of the River Braid in Ballymena on Friday, looking for the missing 21-year-old Chloe Mitchell
Mr Harper maintained that the teams were still hoping to find Ms Mitchell.
‘Ground teams again, we’re searching for Chloe herself. As I say we’re just systematically searching in and around the area at the minute,’ he said.
Regional commander of the Community Rescue Service, Sean McCarry, said the team is working closely with police.
He told the BBC on Friday: ‘Our teams were using special equipment to assist with the search. We started yesterday morning in the early hours and went right through into this morning.
‘We took a break and now we are back at it as we speak.
‘The search is quite wide-ranging. The focus, of course, is in the last place where Chloe was seen.
‘Our teams are working along the Braid River. Because it has been so dry through the past few weeks there isn’t a big flow in the river.
‘We are not searching on the basis that we think Chloe might have got into difficulties in the river, we are searching on the basis of it is within the vicinity of the search area.
‘We concentrate on all waterways and all areas as we carry out the search.
‘We have quite a number of our team out today. We bring additional resources as we need them and the tasks come through to us from the police.
‘Starting this morning we have about 35 people on the job. We would expect that to increase throughout the day.’
Police said Ms Mitchell was last seen on CCTV walking in the direction of James Street, and have asked for anyone with information on her whereabouts to contact officers.
Independent councillor for Ballymena, Rodney Quigley, praised the efforts of the police and search and rescue teams, but said that people should not listen to rumours in relation to the case
Search and Rescue teams behind a property on Edward Street in Ballymena as the search resumes for the missing 21-year-old
A police cordon on James Street in Ballymena as the search has resumed in Co Antrim for missing woman Chloe Mitchell
Chief Inspector Arnie O’Neill said a 26-year-old man was arrested in Lurgan, Co Armagh, on Thursday and is currently helping police with inquiries.
He added: ‘We are becoming increasingly concerned as to the whereabouts of 21-year-old Chloe Mitchell.
‘We are now aware that Chloe was last seen in the late hours of June 2 into the early hours of June 3 in Ballymena town centre. She was seen on CCTV walking in the direction of James Street.
‘Chloe was wearing a green and black North Face-style jacket, a white T-shirt, leggings and Nike trainers.’
Independent councillor for Ballymena, Rodney Quigley, praised the efforts of the police and search and rescue teams, but said that people should not listen to rumours in relation to the case.
‘There’s a bit of confusion at the minute, I’ve heard different reports,’ he said.
‘I want to stress that there’s a lot of rumours going about and for people not to be listening to the rumours. Obviously it’s a well-organised search and I feel the people just need to let search parties and the police continue with the search and investigation.
‘I know she was a local girl, and she’s been missing a week now, which is very concerning, but nobody seems to have seen or heard tell of her anywhere and I’ve been speaking to quite a few people,’ he added.
Community groups in Ballymena have also been carrying out searches for Ms Mitchell, including the Harryville Residents Association and Ballykeel and District Community Association.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 2262 of June 5.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk