MEMBERS of the public from Ballymena have travelled to Belfast to help in the search for 14-year-old Noah Donohoe who has been missing since Sunday evening.
A huge search operation was continuing on Wednesday in which the emergency services were joined by hundreds of members of the public.
Noah’s mother has pleaded for “just one person” to come forward with information that could lead to her son’s safe return home.
Fiona Donohoe has issued a fervent appeal for her 14-year-old son, an only child, on the third day after his disappearance.
Noah is understood to have left his south Belfast home at 5.30pm on Sunday June 21.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph as thousands of volunteers continued to search for the Year 10 pupil, Ms Donohoe said “someone must have spotted a half-naked or naked boy” in the Northwood Road/Premier Drive area of north Belfast, where he was last seen.
“Not one person has come forward to say they saw him,” said Fiona.
“I’m pleading with you; did you see a young boy naked – or even just with his top off – on June 21?
“I need to know if there were any eyewitnesses, so please come forward.
“You may think it’s insignificant but it could turn out to be really relevant. Please, please tell the police anything you know.”
Search teams of volunteers have been combing north Belfast for the St Malachy’s pupil, who had been out riding his bicycle when he disappeared.
Just before 6pm on Sunday a boy matching his description was seen falling off a bike, possibly sustaining a head injury, on North Queen Street.
He is understood to have got back on his bike and rode towards Northwood where he is believed to have abandoned all his clothing and was seen cycling naked.
Noel’s aunt, Niamh Donohoe, who was out searching for her nephew today, said he is “a great wee boy”.
“Noah loves school, he loves his friends, he’s a complete dote,” she said.
She also said his family is desperate for answers.
“We have no idea what has happened.
“We would ask members of public to think abut whether or not they’ve noticed anything unusual recently?
“Have you heard any noises? One woman thought she heard crying at midnight…information like that could be extremely helpful to the police.”
Supt Muir Clark confirmed that police have recovered Noah’s bike and clothing and it is being examined.
He said Noah had been seen walking towards a wooded area, which had been searched and would be searched again and appealed for anyone who was on North Queen Street or York Street around 6pm on Sunday and and has any dashcam or CCTV footage to contact them.
“We would also ask people in the area of Skegoneill Avenue, Northwood, Premier Drive to check their outbuildings,” Supt Clark said.
“We would appeal for people in that area to check all of the nooks and the crannies to make sure that Noah is not there or, if he is there we find and give him any assistance required.”
He added: “We have grave concerns and we want to find Noah as soon as quickly as possible
“We’re very grateful for the cross-community help that we’ve had from the people in north Belfast.
“His family is extremely distressed and we will do everything in our power to find Noah as quickly as we can.”
Sean McCarry, of the Community Rescue Service, said the public in north Belfast had been “tremendous” in helping with the search.
“We would just encourage them to talk to their neighbours, try and find out if anybody’s seen Noah,” he said.
“If you’ve seen him, please come forward to the police immediately because we need some kind of direction of travel for Noah.
“We’re still very optimistic as we will continue to be, hope’s the last thing that goes.
“For a young boy of 14 this time of year, he’s fit and healthy, there’s a very good chance that he’s maybe confused, doesn’t understand who he is, we don’t know what’s going on with Noah, but we do know this is totally out of character.
“So our expectation is that we’re still going to find Noah safe and well, but we do need to find him.”
In a statement, Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said police believe Noah left his home in south Belfast at about 5:30pm on Sunday 21 June.
He was seen on Ormeau Avenue at 5:45pm and then again on Royal Avenue a short time later, heading towards York Street.
Shortly before 6pm, Noah was sighted on North Queen Street heading towards the Limestone Road.
“An eyewitness believes they saw a young male matching Noah’s description fall off his bicycle on Sunday evening, possibly sustaining a head injury, in the vicinity of North Queen Street/York Street, but we do not know the specific time,” the chief inspector added.
Police think Noah got back on his bicycle and cycled into Northwood Road, but then dropped his bicycle and left the area on foot.
The last sighting was in this area at 6:08pm.
“Police officers supported by air support unit, police dogs and our tactical support group have been searching the area alongside Community Rescue Service colleagues and local volunteers,” the officer added.
Police said Noah was riding a black Apollo mountain bike when he was last seen.
He was wearing a khaki green North Face jacket; black skateboarding helmet; a blue and navy hooded top; grey sweat shorts with an emblem on one leg; Nike trainers with a bright yellow tick and a khaki rucksack.
Anyone with information on Noah’s whereabouts is asked to contact police immediately on 101.