The Derry family of a man missing for more than a week in Portrush are “fearing the worst and hoping for the best”.
Dean Patton (24), was last seen in his hometown of Portrush more than a week ago and has not contacted family or friends since. His father John, from Creggan’s Eastway Gardens in Derry, mother Linda and 14 year-old sister Stephanie are growing increasingly worried for his safety.
A wide land and sea search operation has been ongoing in recent days. Police and Bann Community Search and Rescue will continue a coastal search near Ramore Head for Mr Patton in the coming days. The missing man’s aunt, Helen Patton, from Kylemore Park in Derry, told the ‘Journal’ yesterday that Dean attended a party in Portrush on the night of Monday, July 23. “He was last seen in the town at around 3pm on Tuesday afternoon. After that there was no sign of him and no-one has heard from him. It’s completely out of character for Dean,” she said. She and her husband, Gerard Patton, have joined the search for their nephew.
The family are living in hope that Mr Patton is safe and well and have appealed for anyone who may have seen him to get in contact with the authorities immediately. “We were hoping that maybe he made his way to Derry or somewhere and didn’t know where to go. We’re hoping that someone in Derry might have seen him. “As the minutes, hours and days go by our fears get worse but we’re still hoping and trying to be positive. We’re so scared now, we’re all looking at each other for answers but there are no answers. We’re fearing the worst but hoping for the best. His parents and young sister are just at their wits end at this stage. They’re not sleeping or eating, they are just praying for him to come home.”
Since he was reported missing, Dean has not withdrawn money from his bank account, telephoned anyone or returned to the flat he moved into from his parents’ home just two weeks before he went missing. Family members, friends and relatives have erected hundreds of posters of Dean around Northern Ireland in the hope that someone may have information on his whereabouts. Police are asking people in the Portrush area to check all sheds, garages and outhouses. Dean’s father John said this week he was amazed at the number of people who have been helping in the search for Dean. “I’m astounded by the way Portrush has rallied round. Everyone has come together to try and help find him.”
Dean is described as being approximately 6 feet tall with dark hair and a tanned complexion. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans.