A FATHER broke down yesterday as he admitted he would probably never see his son alive again.
Heartbroken Joseph Colhoun from Lifford, Co Donegal, has been keeping a constant vigil on the banks of the River Mourne since his son David went missing last Sunday.
The 22-year-old, who was arrested by the PSNI for being drunk and disorderly in Strabane escaped from custody and ran in the direction of Lifford.
He was last was seen on CCTV footage running down a path that led to the river which straddles the border. But the family claims they only learned of his escape from custody at 5pm on Sunday evening, 13 hours after he had disappeared.
"I know that David is not coming home now. He would have contacted me if he could. He has never done this before. I just want people to help me get him home," he said.
Mr Colhoun, whose wife died tragically last December, said he was going through "a living hell".
"Nobody knows what I'm going through. I stand looking into the night each evening waiting for it to clear again so I can search again in the morning. I try to sleep but I wake straight away," he said.
Hundreds of local people have joined in the family's efforts to search the river and surrounding river banks but Mr Colhoun has criticised the authorities in Northern Ireland for what he claims has been a lack of co-operation to date.
"I just cannot understand why there has been such a lack of co-operation with my family since David has gone missing," he said. "He was not a criminal. He was only arrested for being drunk and disorderly.
"I think the PSNI could be doing more and I don't know why they aren't," he added.
But last night, a senior spokesperson for the PSNI insisted the matter was being treated seriously.
Today, at the request of the PSNI, the Foyle Search and Rescue lifeboat will carry out a search of the river.
A coxswain, a body recovery dog and a police diving unit are also being placed on standby.
In addition, the PSNI has requested assistance from the Irish Search and Rescue helicopter to coordinate the operation form the air.
Mayor of Donegal Cora Harvey (SF) has urged the authorities to increase their efforts to locate David.
"It has been left to the community in Strabane and Lifford to search for David," she said.