New searches under way for Lisa Dorrian in Co Down

Police believe woman last seen alive on February 27th, 2005, was murdered

A diver in the water at the Clay Pits, Ballyhalbert, Northern Ireland, where a large-scale search operation is taking place in the investigation into the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

A diver in the water at the Clay Pits, Ballyhalbert, Northern Ireland, where a large-scale search operation is taking place in the investigation into the disappearance of Lisa Dorrian. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

New searches are under way for Co Down woman Lisa Dorrian, who has been missing for more than 16 years.

Divers are conducting fingertip searches at a number of small lakes at the Clay Pits in Ballyhalbert. It is close to where Ms Dorrian was last seen alive at a party at a caravan park on February 27th, 2005.

The PSNI believe she was murdered.

Her father John and sisters Joanne, Michelle and Ciara visited the search site on Tuesday morning.

Det Supt Jason Murphy, who is leading the investigation, said it was the “start of a new phase of searches for Lisa”.

He said it remained his belief that the answers to Ms Dorrian’s disappearance remained local to Ballyhalbert.

“Over the last 16 years we have conducted more than 400 searches but the resolve to find Lisa or anything linked to her disappearance remains as strong today as it ever has been,” he said.

“While we want to recover Lisa’s body and allow the Dorrian family to finally lay Lisa to rest we remain determined to bring those who killed her to justice and are also looking for evidence relating to her disappearance.

“We continue to review parts of the original investigation and previous searches in the area.

“These searches are an extension of us adopting new thinking around the circumstances of Lisa’s murder.

“While this area was previously considered and work conducted to examine it, our investigative thinking and knowledge has developed over time.

PSNI handout of Lisa Dorrian.
PSNI handout of Lisa Dorrian.

“It is important to the police service and Lisa’s family that we have clarity, and with the development of search techniques and technology I intend to gain reassurance that the examination of the lakes has been conducted to the necessary extent and to modern-day standards.

“I have previously stated that I do not believe that Lisa’s murder was pre-planned and I am of the view that the deposition of her body was equally unplanned.

“I have repeatedly said that I believe the answers to her murder remain local to Ballyhalbert and I remain convinced that a small number of people hold the key to Lisa’s disappearance.

“I continue to appeal for those with direct knowledge of Lisa’s whereabouts to find a way to get that information to me, anonymously or via a third party if necessary.

“Anyone with information should call detectives on 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.” – PA