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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Fears grow for missing Elisha as sonar is used to search river

River Rescue and Civil Defence search for Elisha Gault on the river in Carrick-on-Suir
last week
River Rescue and Civil Defence search for Elisha Gault on the river in Carrick-on-Suir last week
Elisha Gault

Ralph Riegel

Gardai admit they are now deeply concerned for the safety of a 14-year-old girl missing from a Co Tipperary town since St Patrick's Day.

Searches of the River Suir in Carrick-on-Suir will resume at first light today as the heartbroken family of Elisha Gault pleaded with her to come home - or for anyone with information about what happened to her to contact gardai.

Despite a massive seven- day search operation across five counties, no trace of Elisha has been found.

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

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

Her mother, Grainne, posted a heart-rending social media appeal for Elisha to come home.

"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."

Grainne admitted the entire family are broken-hearted that no trace of Elisha has been found despite the massive seven-day search effort which has extended to Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and Cork.

"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."

Elisha left her home at New Street in Carrick-on-Suir between 9pm and 10pm on St Patrick's Day.

She was last spotted on Dillon Bridge, not far from her home, at around 10.10pm.

Elisha was alone when last seen on CCTV camera footage.

The teenager had left home without a coat and without her mobile phone. She is not believed to have much cash with her.

Detectives have already checked with Elisha's friends and are satisfied she is not staying with any Carrick-on-Suir pal.

Gardai stressed they are still hopeful Elisha is alive and may be staying with a distant acquaintance.

However, one Garda source acknowledged that fears for Elisha's welfare have increased.

Search volunteers have combed the fast-flowing River Suir. Yesterday, searches were assisted by the deployment of special side-scan sonar to examine the river bed downstream of the Tipperary town.

The main search has focused over the past week on a 1km stretch of the River Suir downstream from Dillon Bridge and is now extended to a more challenging search area further downstream.

Gardai urged that if Elisha or any of her friends hear the appeal and have information on her whereabouts that they should immediately contact gardai or search officials.

Elisha, who is a secondary school student at Comeragh College in Carrick-on-Suir, is 5ft 10in tall, of slim build, with blue eyes and dyed blonde hair.

Footage at all train and bus stations across Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford has been checked for any indication of Elisha's movements.

Sunday Independent

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