Sixteen years of heartache and still there remains one question unanswered for the family of Ballykelly teenager Jonathan Cairns - why was their son murdered?
An online campaign has given Raymond and Hazel Cairns hope that someone out there will do the right thing and lead them to their son’s killer or killers.
A Facebook page - Justice for Jonathan Cairns - features pictures of Jonathan as a baby through to his teenage years. The page, started by a close family member and close friend of Jonathan’s, also features press clippings covering the murder which rocked the village in 1999. The Cairns urge anyone with any information to come forward.
“It has been terrible,” Raymond told the Journal. “The hurt is always there. We’re heartbroken. We’re still hoping we will get justice yet.”
Mum Hazel says those responsible for her son’s murder have “the devil in their hearts”.
“My heart is still sore, as if there is a knife in it,” Hazel said. “The pain never goes away. Time goes on, but you don’t go with it. You think of him everyday. ”
Jonathan was standing at the local chip shop with his friends in the village in the early hours of April 25, 1999.
The 18-year-old smiled and waved to his parents as they drove past on their way home after a night with friends. It was the last time they saw their son alive.
His body was found in a shallow grave in Loughermore Forest, five miles from the family home where his parents still live.
His bloodied clothing turned up, neatly folded, just yards from his home in the grounds of a local school.
Detective Chief Inspector John McVea, who is leading the inquiry, said the investigation remains open, and added: “Jonathan died a violent death as a result of a vicious beating which went far beyond a drunken assault.
“I believe his killer, or killers were local to Ballykelly and they might have known Jonathan.
“His parents still don’t know why he was attacked on his way home after a night out. They deserve an answer and they deserve justice for their son.”
Information can be given to police on the 101 number or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.