Setback in search for David

David Colhoun has been missing since escaping from police custody in Strabane in the early hours of last Sunday morning.
David Colhoun has been missing since escaping from police custody in Strabane in the early hours of last Sunday morning.
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The agonising wait continues for the family of a missing Lifford man after divers failed to find the 22-year-old’s body.

There were hopes of a breakthrough last night after police sniffer dogs appeared to pinpoint an area of the river close to where David Colhoun is believed to have gone missing over a week ago.

The search and recovery operation was concentrated on an area just yards from where it’s believed he may have entered the River Mourne after escaping from PSNI custody in the early hours of Sunday, May 22.

The area - on the Lifford side of Strabane bridge near the town’s bypass - was pinpointed by victim recovery dogs last night and divers returned to the scene this morning.

David’s heartbroken family led by his father Joseph have been maintaining an agonising vigil on the banks of the Rivers Finn, Foyle and Mourne.

Hundreds of local people have joined the search for the young man from Beechwood Grove in Lifford who was last seen after fleeing police custody. The PSNI said he was arrested for minor offences, believed to be drunk and disorderly.

It is understood he was being transferred to a police vehicle when he ran off.

The family believe that David drowned while trying to make his way back across the border to Lifford. He was a keen swimmer and fisherman who knew the river well. He hasn’t contacted his family or girlfriend since going missing and they believe he got into difficulties in the river which was swollen after heavy rainfall.

A family friend said: “The family already know that David is gone, that he’s dead. They just want his remains so that they can grieve for him and then give him a Christian burial.”

Large crowds of local people gathered on the river banks last night and again this morning as the search for the missing Lifford man entered what the family hoped would be its final phase.

A PSNI spokesman said the search for David Colhoun was continuing.