Search continues in Omeath for suspected murder victim Saoirse Smyth
The search continued today in Omeath for missing Belfast woman Saoirse Smyth.
Gardaí yesterday sealed off a house in the north Louth Village as part of their search for the 28-year-old, who hasn’t been seen since April 2017.
While last seen in Belfast, it is understood Saoirse had been living in a cottage in Omeath prior to her disappearance.
The PSNI have upgraded the investigation to a murder inquiry. They believe she was murdered in a fit of jealousy by a drugs gangster.
A 40-year-old man was arrested in Newry on Wednesday on suspicion of murder.
Garda forensic teams have been searching for DNA evidence or fingerprints in the Omeath property amid fears Saoirse was killed there before being buried in a shallow grave.
The missing woman — who is described as being 4ft 11in tall, slim build, with red hair and blue eyes — was last seen in the Belfast area in April 2017.
The house in Omeath is rented as a holiday home and the owner has no connection to the investigation.
Det Chief Inspector Geoff Boyce, who was present during yesterday’s search, said: “The investigation into Saoirse’s disappearance has progressed and while keeping an open mind I now believe that the potential exists for Saoirse to have sadly been murdered.
“Saoirse was seen in the Belfast area in April 2017. She had very distinctive red hair and has not had any contact with her family or friends during this period, including on significant dates such as her birthday and Christmas, and this is very unusual.
“Saoirse also 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.
“Saoirse’s last movements in April 2017 can be traced to Omeath, where she was living at that time.”
The senior officer added: “A 40-year-old man was arrested by the PSNI in the Newry area on suspicion of Saoirse’s murder.
“He remains in custody and is being questioned by detectives at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.”
Mr Boyce appealed to anyone with information to come forward.
He said: “Her family deserve to know what has happened to her.
“I have been in contact with her family who understandably have been left devastated.
“I am particularly interested in speaking with anyone who has seen Saoirse or who has contact with her since January 2017.
“Anyone with information about her disappearance should contact detectives at the incident room in Ladas Drive on 101 or +4428 9065 0222 if you are calling from the Republic.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to Crimestoppers which is 100 per cent anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”
The family asked the PSNI to issue a statement on their behalf.
It reads: “Somebody out there must know something about what has happened to Saoirse and we would plead with anyone who knows anything to contact police.
“And Saoirse, if you are out there, please contact your family and let us know you are OK.”