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Sunday 16 June 2019

Body of missing Elisha (14) is recovered from River Suir

The search for Elisha Gault in the River Suir. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
The search for Elisha Gault in the River Suir. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Ralph Riegel and Allison Bray

Gardaí have confirmed that a body recovered from the River Suir is that of missing Tipperary girl Elisha Gault (14).

In a statement, gardaí paid tribute to the hundreds of volunteers who supported the massive search operation for the Carrick-on-Suir schoolgirl, who vanished on St Patrick's Day.

Gardaí confirmed that the remains recovered from the river were those of Elisha and they had been transferred to University Hospital Waterford.

The Office of the State Pathologist was notified and a full post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out today.

Gardaí are liaising with Elisha's parents, Gráinne and Cameron, and her extended family who have supported the search for her over the past eight days.

The devastated family was last night being comforted by friends and neighbours.

The body was spotted in the River Suir at a place called Killowen, some 8km downstream from Carrick-on-Suir, shortly after 6pm yesterday.

The crew of the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, who were conducting sweeps of the river, made the grim discovery.

The crew spotted the remains in the water and the body was recovered by a nearby team of searchers and divers.

The discovery came as Elisha's heartbroken family had pleaded with the public to contact gardaí if they spotted anything unusual, no matter how trivial.

Elisha's parents were supported by family, neighbours and friends as they marked one week since the teen disappeared. Gráinne had issued an emotional social media appeal to anyone who may have seen anything unusual in Carrick-on-Suir or its surrounding areas since Elisha vanished to contact gardaí.

"Please share, try and remember back, are you missing something so small that it means nothing to you but can mean a lot to us?" Gráinne said.

Searches of the River Suir resumed at first light yesterday with four vessels supporting divers and search officials.

The last sighting of the teen was shortly after 10pm on St Patrick's Day on Dillon Bridge in Carrick-on-Suir.

CCTV security cameras caught footage of Elisha walking on the bridge - but there was no CCTV footage of her since then and there were no confirmed sightings of the teen.

She had left home without a coat and without her mobile phone.

Gráinne issued a heart-rending appeal for public help in finding Elisha - and for the teen to come home safe.

"Elisha, your daddy, myself and your three sisters love and miss you very much," she said.

"We always have your back no matter what - you are so beautiful, with brains to burn and hilariously funny.

"We miss your craic. We just want you home for a movie night - get in touch, egg."

Gráinne thanked those who had been involved in the search effort over the past week.

"We want to sincerely thank everyone that has been involved in the search [for] our daughter," she said.

"We continue to thank everybody involved in searching, helping and supporting, you will be eternally in our hearts."

The search was extended beyond Tipperary to Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and even Cork.

Volunteers combed the fast-flowing River Suir, with divers conducting finger-tip searches of the riverbed and riverbanks just below the town.

Irish Independent

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