Major search for boy (14) missing in Belfast after cycling across city

Search for teen seen falling from bike, then discarding his clothes and cycling naked

 

People in north Belfast have been urged to search their gardens, sheds and outbuildings for teenager Noah Donohoe, who has been missing since Sunday.

Police say they are becoming increasingly worried about the 14-year-old who was last seen in the Northwood Road and Premier Drive areas, just off the Shore Road.

He had cycled across the city from south to north Belfast and police fear he may have fallen off his bicycle and sustained a head injury. He was also seen discarding his clothes and getting back on his bicycle while naked.

Police and his family say his actions were “completely out of character”.

Police officers supported by an air support unit, police dogs and a tactical support group have been searching the area alongside community rescue service colleagues and local volunteers.

The Hub Community and Research Centre on St Vincent Street is being used as a headquarters for the search, with hundreds of people gathering on the Shore Road to hand out posters. Community Search and Rescue teams have also been helping the PSNI to look for the missing teenager.

“We’ve been searching since Sunday evening, working through the night, and we’ve covered between a mile to a mile and a half radius with about 50-60 volunteers,” said unit Commander Darren Harper.

“People have come from Bangor, Ballymena, and across Northern Ireland to help us. At the minute, we would urge residents to search any outbuildings or sheds they may have.”

Local DUP councillor Dean McCullough urged people who live in the Skegoniell, Northwood and Seaview areas to help in the search. “It is a close-knit community and it will respond to events like this,” he said. “Search your front and your back garden, search sheds, search caravans, search the entries closest to your home.”

Many residents from the area were scanning the Grove playing fields for any trace of the missing teenager, with some using sticks to look through the bushes.

Pamela Peters, from Seaview, said: “We saw the search on Facebook and we’re all from the local area, so we decided to help.

“We all have children and our hearts go out to Noah’s poor mother.”

People search for missing Noah Donohoe (14) who was last seen in the Shore Road area of north Belfast. Photograph: PA
People search for missing Noah Donohoe (14) who was last seen in the Shore Road area of north Belfast. Photograph: PA

Kirsty Hoy, another resident helping with the search, said everyone was out looking for the teenager, “no matter which community they were from”.

North Belfast residents from the nationalist community were also helping search the Grove.

Louise Donaldson, from the Limestone Road, said: “I have child aged 13, just a year younger than Noah, and I would like to think that if it was them, everyone would be out helping.

“We’ve looked all round the York Road, the Limestone Road, Alexandra Park and at the train station at Yorkgate.”

Rosemary Carlisle, who lives on Jellicoe Drive, has a patch of rough ground behind her house and today it was inspected by the Search and Rescue team.

“They couldn’t see up there from Northwood Road, so they came to have a look at it from my back garden. It’s a no-man’s land of brambles and bushes in there - completely overgrown.”

PSNI Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said it believed the teenager left his home in South Belfast on Sunday at about 5.30pm.

He was riding a black Apollo mountain bike and wearing a black skateboarding helmet, khaki green North Face jacket, grey sweat shorts with an emblem on one leg, a tie-die blue hoody, Nike trainers with a bright yellow ‘tick’ and carrying a khaki rucksack.

“Noah was seen on Ormeau Avenue at 5.45pm on Sunday evening. He was then sighted again on Royal Avenue heading towards York Street a short time after. Noah was then seen on North Queen Street heading towards the Limestone Road at 5.57pm,” he said.

“We believe Noah got back on his bicycle, cycling into Northwood Road where he then abandons all his clothing, as he is seen a short time later cycling while naked. We believe Noah then dropped his bicycle and left the area on foot.”

On Wednesday evening, Superintendent Muir Clark said there have been no further confirmed sightings of Noah since 6.11pm on Sunday.

“So far, we have recovered Noah’s black crash helmet, his Nike trainers with the yellow tick, blue tie-dye hoody and his mobile phone.

“We have not yet found the khaki green North Face coat, grey sweat shorts and a green backpack containing a Lenovo laptop.

“I really need people to check their own property, we are looking for a young, slim 14-year-old boy. Check your homes, sheds and outbuildings,” he said.

“If you have a shed or a caravan that hasn’t been used for some time, which is sitting on your driveway, please check it to see if Noah is there.

“If anyone has had clothing go missing from a washing line over the last few days, you need to contact us. If you are a landlord with a vacant property, check it.

In an appeal to Noah: “You are not in any trouble, get in touch and we will come to you.”