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A diver team at the bank of The Clay Pits, Ballyhalbert, searching for missing Co Down woman Lisa Dorrian Liam McBurney/PA

New searches under way for missing Co Down woman Lisa Dorrian

Lisa Dorrian was last seen alive in Ballyhalbert Caravan Park on 27 February 2005.

NEW SEARCHES ARE under way for missing Co Down woman Lisa Dorrian, who has not been seen since 2005.

Her father John and sisters Joanne, Michelle and Ciara visited the search site at the Clay Pits in Ballyhalbert this morning.

Divers are conducting fingertip searches at a number of small lakes in the area.

The location is close to where Lisa Dorrian was last seen alive at a party at a caravan park on 27 February 2005.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who is leading the investigation, said it was the “start of a new phase of searches for Lisa”.

He said it remains his belief that the answers to her disappearance remain local to Ballyhalbert.

“Over the last 16 years we have conducted more than 400 searches but the resolve to find Lisa or anything linked to her disappearance remains as strong today as it ever has been,” Murphy said.

“While we want to recover Lisa’s body and allow the Dorrian family to finally lay Lisa to rest we remain determined to bring those who killed her to justice and are also looking for evidence relating to her disappearance.

“We continue to review parts of the original investigation and previous searches in the area.

Murphy said that the searches are an “extension of us adopting new thinking around the circumstances of Lisa’s murder”.

“While this area was previously considered and work conducted to examine it, our investigative thinking and knowledge has developed over time,” the detective superintendent said.

“It is important to the police service and Lisa’s family that we have clarity, and with the development of search techniques and technology, I intend to gain reassurance that the examination of the lakes has been conducted to the necessary extent and to modern day standards,” Murphy said.

“I have previously stated that I do not believe that Lisa’s murder was pre-planned and I am of the view that the deposition of her body was equally unplanned,” he said.

“I have repeatedly said that I believe the answers to her murder remain local to Ballyhalbert and I remain convinced that a small number of people hold the key to Lisa’s disappearance. 

“I continue to appeal for those with direct knowledge of Lisa’s whereabouts to find a way to get that information to me, anonymously or via a third party if necessary.”

Anyone with information can call detectives on 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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