THE SEARCH FOR Arlene Arkinson, the Tyrone teenager who went missing in 1994, has moved on to include a new location after police received new information.
Detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder of Arkinson, who disappeared at the age of 15, have extended their search operation today to include a flat in Castlederg.
Police said the search of the flat on Main Street, coupled with resumed land searches in the Castlederg area, “is designed to advance the ongoing police objectives of recovering the schoolgirl’s remains and progressing the investigation”.
This latest stage of search activity comes after the police received new information into the overall investigation.
Police said that “stabilisation” work has been carried out in the past few weeks on the derelict flat to ensure that detailed forensic activity can be conducted.
The flat has been visited previously by police but this latest stage will involve more detailed forensic examination. The search at this location is not for human remains, said the PSNI.
At the same time, additional land searches will be conducted in a stretch of countryside between Castlederg and Clady, carried out by a small team assisted by dog handlers and body recovery dogs.
Active and ongoing
A spokesman for PSNI Serious Crime Branch said:
This investigation remains active and ongoing. But it is also extremely complex and requires detectives to adopt a thorough and co-ordinated approach to progressing investigative opportunities.
Some new information has been received. Detectives have made enquiries over the last few months to examine this information and this had led to an expansion of the existing search plan.
He said that the fact that new information has come into the inquiry as a result of previous appeals “is heartening”.
Police still believe that there may be more information in the community and we would appeal for anyone with any information to come forward – for Arlene and for her family.
Arkinson was last seen in the early hours of 14 August 1994. She disappeared after a night out in Bundoran. In 2005 Robert Howard (61), stood trial for Arlene’s murder but was acquitted.
Police said the Arkinson family have been kept up to date about the progress of the investigation.
A police spokesman from the investigation said: “We sympathise with Arlene’s family in their continued distress, frustration and anger. We maintain an absolute commitment to working to resolve their unbearable situation despite the complexities and time span of the investigation.”