‘Find her’

Arlene has been missing since 1994.
Arlene has been missing since 1994.

THE FAMILY of Arlene Arkinson have demanded that police begin searching for her remains immediately after it emerged that a new lead has been established.

Arlene’s sister Kathleen said she was dismayed that there was no discernible action being taken on the ground by police despite news of the fresh evidence relating to a potential location.

Kathleen Arkinson said the family retained some hope that the information now with the team investigating Arlene’s murder was true and could result in her sister being found and finally getting a proper burial.

She added however that after so many false dawns over the past 20 years, she remained deeply sceptical on the matter.

Arlene was just 15 when she vanished after attending a disco in Bundoran in August 1994.

The Castlederg teenager’s remains have never been found, despite years of searches by the family and teams of police officers with expert body recovery dogs.

Convicted child killer Robert Howard was acquitted of Arlene’s murder back in 2005, but the jury in case was not made aware of Howard’s horrific past and catalogue of sex attacks.

Nor were they told that just two years beforehand, Howard was convicted of murdering 14-year-old Hannah Williams in England.

The new evidence in Arlene’s case emerged during the inquest into her disappearance yesterday.

The Inquest has now been adjourned in light of the development.

Kathleen Arkinson said she learned of new lead from the solicitor acting for the family, and as of yesterday had yet to hear anything from police.

“This is the 19th preliminary hearing and this has been going on since 2007,” she said.

“What we have been told is that it is supposed to be people or a person who has given information. It’s about that location where her remains are.

“If the police have got that information yesterday, why are they letting her lie out there? I want them to go there A.S.A.P.

“If this is the most significant development we have had, then I want no more delays. I want police to deal with it A.S.A.P. and the person who came forward if they know any more it would be great if they could share it.

“We a sa family want to thank the person or people who has come forward as well, if indeed this is the case.

“We don’t know when this is supposed to have happened, whether this was the day before yesterday or months ago.

She added: “I would like to see the documents to see what this person or persons said. We don’t have to know who it is, but we want to know if it’s 100% true and if it is, why aren’t they out digging? They should have that place cordoned off now.”

Ms Arkinson said that if money was the issue for bringing the dogs back to search, she and her relatives will ‘stand on the street and beg if need be’ to gather the funds.

Kathleen said the last 20 years have been horrendous for her family.

“Arlene would be 35 on 20th of April this year,” she told the Journal.

“I can’t describe what it feels like all these years. If you came today and put a knife through my throat I wouldn’t feel it, there has been that much hurt done to me.

“I am not giving up. We will find her remains if we have to hire the dogs ourselves and go out ourselves.

“My boys are grown up now and they do not want to see me crying every day. Our children have lived with this as well.”

Kathleen added that the next Coroner’s hearing date was expected some time in May or June.

Speaking in response to the concerns raised by Ms Arkinson yesterday, a PSNI spokesman said:”Police inquiries are continuing.”