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Gardaí issue photos of car as they seek to trace girl (14) believed to be in company of 18-year-old male

A Child Rescue Alert was issued overnight and remains live this afternoon, gardaí say.
Apr 22nd 2021, 1:28 AM 199,557 0

Updated Apr 22nd 2021, 12:51 PM

GARDAÍ SAY A Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) alert issued in the early hours of this morning remains in effect this afternoon as they seek to trace a 14-year-old girl missing from her home since Monday. 

Officers are seriously concerned for the girl’s welfare and are appealing for the public’s help locating her. 

Svetlana Murphy went missing from her home in Coast Road, Blackrock, Co. Louth at 4pm on Monday. Gardaí believe she is in the company of 18-year-old Nojus Maculevicius.

She was reported missing by one of her parents. 

It is believed that both travelled from Blackrock to Newry in Co. Down on Monday as they were sighted there at 7pm that evening. 

Both Svetlana and Nojus are travelling in a grey-silver Hyundai Veloster car with the registration number 132-D-13518.

Gardaí are satisfied the car was in the greater Belfast area at 5.35pm yesterday evening (Wednesday) but the whereabouts of the pair is not known at this time. 

Following investigations to date, An Garda Síochána say they have serious concerns that there is an immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of Svetlana.

Svetlana is described as being:

  • 5 foot, 1 inch in height
  • Of slim build
  • With brown hair and brown eyes

At the time she went missing on Monday, she was wearing:

  • Navy tracksuit bottoms with a red and white stripe on the leg
  • A black zipped top
  • Black runners

Nojus is described as being:

  • 6 foot in height
  • Of slim build
  • With dark brown hair
  • He is clean shaven 

Gardaí say that he was seen wearing dark grey Snickers work trousers and a black Snickers top. He may also have been wearing a khaki green hoodie and either black boots or Adidas runners.

Gardaí are asking anyone with information on the situation or Svetlana’s whereabouts to contact gardaí on 999 or 112.

They are also asking anyone who may have seen either person not to approach them and to instead contact gardaí, providing as much information as possible. 

Gardaí have been issuing updates on the CRI alert every two hours, in keeping with policy. 

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland Superintendent Liam Geraghty said that gardaí believe that the missing pair have not left Ireland.

“It’s our understanding at the moment, or our belief at the moment, that Svetlana and Nojus are still on the island of Ireland, and that is why the Child Rescue Ireland was issued.

“We would urge either Svetlana or Nojus, if they are listening to this programme, or hear these alerts going on today to make contact themselves with us so that we can find out that Svetlana is safe and well, and get her back to her family.

“It is a very difficult time for her family. We’re liaising very, very carefully with them at the moment – there’s an officer working with them.”

Superintendent Geraghty, speaking to The Journal, said that there was a chance that they may have changed their clothes since they were last seen. He also said that while gardaí were liaising closely with the PSNI they did not believe that they had left the island.

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“We’re are very anxious to speak to Svetlana and make sure she is safe and well.

“Anyone who can help us with this CRI can call the gardaí on 999 or 112,” he said. 

The PSNI also released an email to media regarding the investigation, noting that An Garda Síochána were the lead force. 

Launched in 2012, the Child Rescue Ireland alert system was introduced to help trace missing children in cases where officers believe there is a serious risk to the child. 

It followed a call from the European Union for member states to introduce such national systems. 

Strict criteria need to be met before a decision is made to issue a CRI alert. 

The alerts are communicated throughout the country via a range of methods, including traditional and social media and via electronic road signs. 

- With reporting from Daragh Brophy and Niall O’Connor.

(Identifying photos were removed from this piece after the CRI was stood down on Thursday evening, as Svetlana was found safe and well. You’ll find the updated piece here). 

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Rónán Duffy

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