Man arrested by police searching for missing Chloe Mitchell

Ballymena woman (21) last seen in home town in early hours of June 3rd

A senior police officer has said she hopes a woman who has been missing for almost a week is safe and well, as a major search operation continues.

Police confirmed a criminal investigation into the disappearance of Chloe Mitchell (21), from Ballymena, has also been launched.

Searches along the Braid river in the Co Antrim town were ongoing on Friday.

Ms Mitchell was last seen on CCTV in the early hours of June 3rd in Ballymena town centre.


A 26-year-old man was arrested in Lurgan, Co Armagh, on Thursday.

Ms Mitchell’s brother Phillip urged anyone with information to contact the family.

Asked by the BBC how much he is missing his sister, Mr Mitchell said: “Words just can’t describe it, I am broke.”

Giving an update on the investigation, Supt Gillian Kearney said police are treating Ms Mitchell as a “high-risk missing person”.

She added: “Firstly, I am appealing directly to Chloe to make contact with the police, family or friends so we know you are safe and well.

“I am also asking the public to contact us if they have seen Chloe. I know she was last seen by family on Friday, June 2nd, and then she is captured in the late hours of June 2nd and the early hours of Saturday the third in Ballymena town centre on CCTV.

“She was walking in the direction of James Street. We are becoming increasingly concerned about Chloe’s safety.

“It is out of character for her to not be in contact with her family. They are being supported by specialist officers during this worrying time.

“We have launched a criminal investigation into her disappearance and we are examining a number of scenes.

“A 26-year-old man has been arrested in Lurgan yesterday and is currently helping police with their inquiries.

“I would like to thank the public and the search and rescue teams for all of their help so far in trying to find Chloe.

“I hope Chloe is safe and well and that is why today we are appealing for information from anybody who may have seen her or may know where she is.”

Community Search and Rescue as well as K9 Search and Rescue, a volunteer canine search and rescue team, began the search for Ms Mitchell around the river Braid on Thursday.

Police directed the search and rescue team to a section of the river in the Castle Gardens area of Ballymena on Friday that included an embankment with an 18ft drop.

Several Community Rescue Service vehicles including a specialist lowland search unit attended the site at the river Braid.

Darren Harper, district commander for Community Rescue Service, said search efforts had allowed them to eliminate some areas.

“Today’s search is going to be just a continuation on from the search areas yesterday, just eliminating the areas that Chloe may not be in,” he said.

Mr Harper said his team was well-equipped to deal with the difficulties in searching the steep embankment of the river.

“We do have a tech team that will be able to get down there, so it’s not going to be so much of a challenge,” he said.

“It’s just because of the low light yesterday when this search area was identified within our search strategy. It was just a lot safer for our guys to try and access it during daylight hours.”

Ground teams searched the areas around the river but also close to a property in James Street, near to Ms Mitchell’s last known whereabouts, which has been cordoned off by police.

Mr Harper maintained that the teams were still hoping to find Ms Mitchell.

“Ground teams again, we’re searching for Chloe herself. As I say we’re just systematically searching in and around the area at the minute,” he said.

Police were knocking doors in the search areas around the river, asking residents if they were at home last Friday evening into Saturday morning and enquiring as to if they had CCTV at their property. – PA