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Dublin: 9°C Friday 25 September 2020

Investigation into missing Belfast woman upgraded to murder

An address in Omeath, Co Louth is being searched in connection with Saoirse’s disappearance.

Saoirse Smyth.
Saoirse Smyth.
Image: PSNI

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have upgraded their investigation into a missing Belfast woman Saoirse Smyth to murder.

A 40-year-old man was arrested by the PSNI yesterday evening in the Newry area on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody and is being questioned by detectives at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

The PSNI said that an address in Omeath, Co Louth is currently being searched in connection with Saoirse’s disappearance, and that they’re working with An Garda Síochána in relation to the investigation.

Saoirse Smyth (28), has been missing since December 2017. Despite a number of appeals from the PSNI she hasn’t been located.

Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Boyce said that while the PSNI are keeping an open mind, “I now believe that the potential exists for Saoirse to have sadly been murdered”.

Boyce said that Saoirse was seen in the Belfast area in April 2017 and has not had any contact with her family or friends during this period, including on her birthday and Christmas. Boyce said that this is very unusual for Saoirse.

Saoirse also hasn’t responded to any of her family’s pleas on social media. This along, with other information obtained during the police investigation now leads me to believe that Saoirse may have been murdered.

Saoirse’s last movements in April 2017 can be traced to Omeath, where she was living at that time.

“I am making an appeal today for information about the circumstances leading to Saoirse’s disappearance. Her family deserve to know what has happened to her,” Boyce said.

The family have asked the PSNI to issue the following statement on their behalf.

Somebody out there must know something about what has happened to Saoirse and we would plead with anyone who knows anything to contact the police – and Saoirse if you are out there, please contact your family and let us know you are okay.

The PSNI said:

“I am particularly interested in speaking with anyone who has seen Saoirse or who has contact with her since January 2017. Anyone with information about her disappearance should contact detectives at the incident room Ladas Drive on 101 or +4428 9065 0222 if you are calling from the Republic of Ireland.

“Alternatively information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

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