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Newry arrest in missing woman murder probe

 An arrest was made in Newry last week in connection with the suspected murder of a missing Belfast woman. An address in Omeath was also searched as the murder probe was launched into the disappearance of Saoirse Smyth more than six months ago. 

Ms Smyth was last seen in Belfast on April 11, last year. Her last known movements have been traced to Omeath, where she was living at the time. She had been reported missing in December 2017 – but she has never been found.  

A 40-year-old man was arrested in Newry on suspicion of murder on Wednesday but has since been released on bail pending further investigation.

A 48-year-old woman was also arrested last month in connection with the disappearance and was released on bail.

According to the missing woman’s friends, she was a troubled young woman battling drug addiction. The 28 year old’s mother died when she was a young girl and she lost her 19 year old sister to substance abuse.  Her sister-in-law, Jennifer Dornan, was stabbed to death in her west Belfast home three years ago.

During a televised press conference on Friday, PSNI detective inspector Paul Rowland said the murder probe is a “fairly open investigation” at this stage.

“There are several lines of investigation and that is the reason for this press appeal, to try and bring that information forward, to see where Saoirse was living, who she was living with and all those details that are very important to the murder investigation,” he said.

DI Rowland told the press conference that Saoirse was last seen in the Belfast area on April 11, 2017, and it is believed she returned to Omeath later that day.

“She has very distinctive red hair and has not had any contact with her family or friends since then, including on significant dates such as her birthday and Christmas, and this is very unusual,” said the Detective Inspector.

“Saoirse hasn’t responded to any of her family’s pleas on social media, this, along with other information obtained during the police investigation, now leads me to believe that Saoirse may have been murdered.

“We are working closely with our colleagues in An Garda Siochana and an address in Omeath is currently being searched in connection with Saoirse’s disappearance.

“I am appealing for information about the circumstances leading to Saoirse’s disappearance.

“Her family deserve to know what has happened to her. She was a daughter, a sister and a grand daughter.

“I am particularly interested in speaking with anyone who has seen Saoirse or had contact with her since April 2017, and ask for anyone who has information to please call police with even any small detail.”

Ms Smyth’s family have urged anyone with information to come forward to police.   In  a statement issued by police on behalf of the family, they said,

“Somebody out there must know something about what has happened to Saoirse and we would plead with anyone who knows anything to contact the police – and Saoirse if you are out there, please contact your family and let us know you are okay.”

Anyone with information about her disappearance can contact detectives at the incident room Ladas Drive on 101 or 028 9065 0222 if phoning from the Republic.