Noah Donohoe went missing from Belfast almost a week ago and police have been frantically searching the area after reports witness had seen a teenager fall off their bike. On Friday, officers found a bag containing the teenager’s laptop – but officers had a tragic update over the weekend. Police confirmed a body believed to be that of the youngsters was found in North Belfast at around 9.45am on Saturday.
An official identification has not been completed, but police say they believe the body is the missing 14-year-old, who has not been seen since last Sunday evening.
Superintendent Muir Clark said: “We did have access to the storm drain complex and it has been searched over the last number of days before we got to the end of the complex.
“It’s an extremely challenging environment in which to work and that is why it has taken the length of time to go through that complex.
“They were working in the pitch black and there was a lot of growing to cover.
“In my 30 years in the police, this is one of the most unusual missing person inquiries that I have dealt with.”
A postmortem will now be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.
However, police say the death is being treated as ‘not suspicious’.
He also appealed to the public to refrain from posting rumours about the teenager online.
“It is disappointing that I again need to call on people circulating a number of rumours about Noah‘s disappearance, which are completely without foundation.
“This type of commentary and rumour is distressing for Noah‘s family and is extremely unhelpful.
“An investigation into the circumstances of Noah‘s disappearance is still continuing but there is no evidence to suggest foul play.
“If people post distasteful and patently untrue rumours on social media, we will investigate that.”
Mr Clark also told media at a press conference in Belfast on Friday that a 26-year-old man has been arrested following a social media post concerning Noah.
“Last night we became aware of social media posts. We are aware of the content of these social media posts and are content there is no truth behind their content,” he said.
“A 26-year-old male was arrested in the early hours of this morning on suspicion of improper use of public electronic communications network and he is currently helping with enquiries.”
What is a storm drain?
A storm drain is used to help prevent flooding.
Storm drains divert rainwater off the streets and other paved surfaces and into a natural body of water.
Such systems can be huge and can take time to search through: at least 300 people live in the 200 miles of underground storm drains of Las Vegas, according to reports.
Superintendent Muir Clark told reporters the storm drain in question was almost a kilometre long and the search was “extremely challenging”.
The drain has been searched the past few days and officers only reach the end this morning.
When was Noah Donohoe last seen?
Noah Donohoe was last seen in areas close to the Shore Road in North Belfast.
The 14-year-old left his South Belfast home at 5.30pm on Sunday, before travelling up Ormeau Avenue, where he was spotted at 5.45pm.
He headed north onto Royal Avenue and York Street, before reaching North Queen Street at about 5.57pm.
A boy matching Noah’s description was then seen falling off a bike in the North Queen road area.
He was spotted again at 5.57pom on Northwood Road – and that was the last sighting of the teenager.
Noah may have suffered a concussion after banging his head and became confused.