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Cold Case

Sniffer dogs being used in search for body of Caroline Graham murdered in 1989

Detectives in Portadown will today search a house where the 19-year-old used to live.

OFFICERS IN PORTADOWN investigating the murder of a woman who’s been missing for over 25 years will today use sniffer dogs as part of the search of a house where she used to live.

It’s part of a fresh effort being made in the case of Caroline Graham who was last seen after a night out in Portadown in 1989.

Today’s search operation will take place at a property in Hanover Street where 19-year-old Caroline lived.  Specially trained PSNI victim recovery dogs which can identify traces of human remains will be deployed.

Caroline was living with her boyfriend in Hanover Street at the time of her disappearance in April 1989 but was originally from Newry. It’s understood she had been living in the Portadown area for around two years before her disappearance.

The PSNI say that today’s search is being carried out under warrant but with the consent of the current owner adding that they do not believe the current occupant has knowledge of the events of 1989.

The officer leading the investigation detective chief inspector Peter Montgomery says that “he still believes a form of closure is possible for Caroline and her family”:

It was around Easter at the end of March 1989 and Caroline had been for a night out to the Coach in Banbridge with a girlfriend. She stayed part of the night with her friend in a hostel in Portadown but was gone in the morning. I have information that suggests Caroline returned to Hanover Street to get some clothes but she has not been seen since. I believe she was murdered some time later and that her remains are somewhere in Portadown.

The current phase of the investigation has been ongoing for the past two years with police saying that their appeals for information have been “very prodcutive”, something which led to today’s search.

The nearby Carleton Street area has been searched as have areas of waste ground and a number of different premises.

Montgomery says that detectives believe that the  key to recovering Caroline’s remains “lies with a small group of local people” because whoever was responsible for her murder may have spoken to people.

“I need to speak to anyone who saw Caroline at the Coach with her friend that night,” he said.

“Did you pick up Caroline and her friend and drop them off in Portadown? Six weeks ago I appealed to two men, possibly off-duty soldiers, who gave Caroline a lift in a black Ford XR3i car that night to come forward. Although I am not treating them as suspects, they have yet to make contact. I would urge them to do so.”

This latest search comes just six weeks after Caroline’s mother, Barbara, appealed for information about her daughter’s disappearance and murder.

A 76-year-old woman arrested in June in connection with a murder was also released.

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on  +44 2890 700 727.

Read: 76-year-old woman released after being arrested in connection with 1989 murder >

Read: Ireland’s cold case detectives say ‘it’s never too late’ >

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