Gardaí search Louth forest for murdered Belfast woman
Saoirse Smyth, who has distinctive red hair, was last seen in Belfast in April 2017
An undated handout photo issued by the PSNI of Saoirse Smyth, who was last seen in Belfast in April 2017.
Ms Smyth, who was last seen in the Belfast area in April 2017, had distinctive red hair, was about 5ft tall and of slim build.
The search is being conducted by detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, supported by the Louth divisional search team, Garda Technical Bureau, a specialist forensic archaeologist and specialist cadaver search dogs.
Investigators from the PSNI are also assisting.
Det Chief Insp Geoff Boyce said the investigation into Ms Smyth’s disappearance “has progressed, and while keeping an open mind I now believe that the potential exists for Saoirse to have sadly been murdered”.
He appealed to anyone with information that may help detectives to come forward.
“Her family deserve to know what has happened to her ... I have been in contact with her family who understandably have been left devastated and trained police family liaison officers are supporting the family at this very difficult time.”
Gardaí have previously assisted the PSNI by carrying out a technical examination of a house in the Omeath area in July 2018.
Speaking at the time, the Smyth family appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
“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,” they said.
Ms Smyth’s grandmother pleaded for anyone with information to come forward to help them bury her. “No-one deserves this, we just want to get closure on it,” she in July 2018. “We have heard she is dead and we want to find out where her body is so we can give her a Christian burial and get closure for myself and the rest of her family.”
Gardaí are asking anyone who has information to contact Dundalk Garda station at 042 9388470 or the Garda Confidential Phone line at 1800 666 111.
Anyone with information can also contact the PSNI at the incident room at Ladas Drive on (0044) 2890700355.
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.