Family of Noah Donohoe (14) grateful for ‘love and empathy’
Family speaks of special bond: ‘He taught his mummy so much. They were each other’s world’
PSNI detectives are seeking to trace the final movements of 14-year-old Noah Donohoe to try to determine why he died. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
PSNI detectives are seeking to trace the final movements of 14-year-old Noah Donohoe to try to determine why he died.
The body of the missing teenager was found on Saturday morning in a storm drain in north Belfast. Police do not suspect foul play.
The Donohoe family in a statement on Sunday expressed their “heartfelt gratitude for the support, outpouring of love, and empathy” they received.
“From walking with us, both physically and spiritually, to feeling our pain, we recognise that everyone has lost Noah,” said the family.
“Noah’s mummy always told him that he would change the world,” they said.
“He was very special. It is very hard to do justice or honour the extraordinary relationship Noah and his mummy shared. In his 14 years his mummy got so much from their special bond, he taught his mummy so much. They were each other’s world.”
They said that details of the funeral would be announced soon. “Noah loved his school and his friends at school, and we know that they will be grieving too and they need to say goodbye too,” they said.
Prayers for Noah and for his mother Fiona and family were said at a number of church services in Belfast on Sunday.
Paul McBride, the principal of St Malachy’s College where Noah went to school said the whole school mourned his loss. He described Noah as a talented cellist and keen basketball and rugby player. In his three years at the school he won a number of awards including “‘The Spirit of the College Award’, full attendance, class prizes and UK Maths Challenge success.
“He was a natural leader who led by example. His caring nature, calm demeanour and big smile were some of his great gifts that helped others do their best,” said Mr McBride.
Noah Donohoe, from south Belfast, went missing after cycling across the city on Sunday (June 21st). He was last seen in the Northwood Road area just after 6pm.
He had cycled approximately 4 km across the city from his home in south Belfast to north Belfast, where police believe he may have fallen off his bicycle and hit his head.
He was seen discarding his clothes and cycling naked, actions which police and his family said were “completely out of character.”
Scores of volunteers assisted police in searches that were conducted throughout last week. People hoped that the teenager may have suffered some form of concussion or amnesia and that eventually he would be discovered alive.
But on Saturday morning the PSNI reported that his body was discovered around 9.45 am that morning.
PSNI Superintendent Muir Clark said a post mortem is to take place and the investigation into the circumstances of his disappearance is continuing.
“But there is no evidence to suggest foul play,” he said at a press conference at the weekend at PSNI Musgrave Station in central Belfast.
He said Noah’s body was found in a storm drain complex in north Belfast that was almost a kilometre long.
It had been searched for a number of days but finding the body took so long because it was an “extremely challenging environment”. He said specialist search and rescue officers were involved. “They were working in the pitch black.”
Supt Clark said it was possible that the reported head injury that Noah suffered played a part in his death. He hoped the post mortem would provide some answers in this regard.
Asked was the storm drain covered or would a person have to proactively enter it or could they fall into it Supt Clark replied: “You would have to proactively enter it.”
During the searches last week Noah’s backpack, laptop and a copy of the book Twelve Rules For Life by Jordan B Peterson were recovered.
Supt Clark said police were continuing to examine the laptop. He hoped this might answer some of the questions about why Noah had cycled from the south of the city to the north.
Supt Clark also criticised rumours about the teenager’s disappearance that were circulating on social media and, he said, were “completely without foundation”.
One man is due to appear in court over a video he posted about the missing teenager.