The family of missing Derry man, John Concannon, was hopeful of waking from a 16 month nightmare yesterday as a post-mortem on human remains discovered on the border on Saturday sought to formally identify their lost loved one.
John’s brothers Leon Concheanainn and Michael Concannon said that while the formal identification process began on Monday following the retrieval of the remains on the Lenamore Road, the family are almost certain it’s him.
The 71-year-old, who suffered from dementia in his later years, was last seen getting off the Fernabbey bus on the Lenamore Road on November 10, 2015.
The human remains discovered by a member of the public on Saturday were just a few hundred yards from where he would have alighted after travelling on the Fernabbey bus from Foyle Street.
Tell-tale indications also suggest it’s almost certainly Mr. Concannon.
“It’s the same shirt he was wearing when he went missing and it’s also the same type of watch,” said his brother Michael.
“It’s obviously been very open-ended for the family for the past 16 months and with the loss of John’s son [Jonathan, who died suddenly, aged just 27, last June] occurring in the middle of that, it’s been very difficult,” he added.
Leon Concheanainn, who joined family members at the site of the discovery for most of Saturday, said: “He was found almost exactly on the border.
“He was about 800 yards up from the bus stop. They found him down in a wee stream.”
He blamed bad fortune for the fact that the body wasn’t discovered earlier.
Despite hundreds of man hours of searches and the use of dogs, not a trace of John was uncovered until the weekend.
Leon said the family was grateful to all the volunteers who offered support and assistance to the Concannon family over the past year and a half.
“We’d like to thank everybody who helped with all the searches. It’s been such a long time. I’m actually delighted he’s been found and hopefully it will give the whole family a bit of closure,” said Leon.
Michael is also hopeful the family can will finally enjoy some peace soon.
He also said he was mindful of other Derry families who have been stricken by family and that the Concannons were thinking particularly of the Glenn and Millar families at this time.
“It was like living a never-ending nightmare. My heart goes out to the Glenn family and, now unfortunately the Millar family as well, for what they’re going through at the moment. You only really know what they’re going through if you’ve gone through it yourself.
“The mind never rests. You rerun every scenario. Should I have checked here? Should I have done this? Should I have done that? With the help of God we’ll get him home now.”