Emotional vigil for missing man

Some of the large crowd of family and friends who attended the vigil at the riverbank on the Mourne.  (0508JB23)
Some of the large crowd of family and friends who attended the vigil at the riverbank on the Mourne. (0508JB23)

The father of a man missing since running away from police 11 weeks ago has vowed to keep on searching for his son.

David Colhoun’s family believe he drowned in the River Mourne after fleeing police who had arrested him in Strabane for minor public order offences in the early hours of Sunday, May 22.

Joseph Colhoun keeps a vigil at the site where he thinks his son David entered the river Mourne.  (0508JB21)

Joseph Colhoun keeps a vigil at the site where he thinks his son David entered the river Mourne. (0508JB21)

The last confirmed sighting of the 23-year-old Lifford man was by police who say that he ran from the Bowling Green area of Strabane where the town’s police station is located, towards Bridge Street. However, Mr Colhoun’s family believe that he would have then headed towards the river to attempt to swim across to Lifford as he was a strong swimmer familiar with the border waterways. His widowed father Joe (Ruby) Colhoun says he won’t rest until his son’s body is recovered.

Mr Colhoun, whose wife died earlier this year, said his family’s world has been turned upside down. “It’s a bad nightmare. There’s no sleep, no living, there’s nothing,” he said. “There was never a doubt in my mind that he is in the river. We will get him, it’s just when is the problem. But we won’t stop until we get him.”

Mr Colhoun said the search was still very much active, with help arriving daily from across Ireland. The searches of the local river are being led by Foyle Search and Rescue and the Community Search Team.

Mr Colhoun said: “We are back now to searching where we started the search, at the point of the Mourne and the Finn.” Mr Colhoun recently met with Derry mother Jackie McNair, whose son Sean (17) went missing after diving off Rathmullan Pier. Following a nine-day search, Sean’s remains were recovered and he was buried last Thursday.

“She has been able to bury her son,” Mr Colhoun said. “It is 11 weeks now and there has been no sign of my boy but I will get him. The grieving is over now for me and it is just a matter of bringing him home and giving him a proper funeral.” Hundreds of people attended a riverside prayer vigil for the Colhoun family and searchers on Tuesday evening, at which Lifford PP Fr Eddie Kilpatrick officiated.