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Wednesday 23 May 2018

Gardaí to decide if forest search for Tina should be extended

  • 60 personnel involved in extensive search
  • No significant breakthrough in investigation following first days of search
  • 80pc of woodlands searched
  • Search initially expected to last up to three weeks
Inset: Missing woman Tina Satchwell
Inset: Missing woman Tina Satchwell
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

GARDAÍ are to review the search of a sprawling Cork woodland for missing woman Tina Satchwell (45) over whether the operation should be extended into next week or suspended.

A team of 60 personnel have been painstakingly inspecting Mitchel's Wood outside Castlemartyr in east Cork over the past 10 days for any sign of Tina who vanished without trace on March 20 2017.

While items of interest have been uncovered by the search team, no significant breakthrough has been made in the hunt for the missing woman.

Almost 80pc of the 40 acres of woodland initially prioritised have now been searched.

All search zones are due to be inspected by Friday.

Garda search teams have been supported by Defence Forces engineering units and Search Dogs UK.

Streams and rivers adjacent to the woodland are now being searched by the Garda Sub Aqua Unit.

The search site has been cordoned off behind steel security fencing with the operation supported by mobile spotlights, industrial generators, portacabins, a Garda mobile command centre and even portable toilets.

Tina’s husband Richard near their home in Youghal, Co Cork
Tina’s husband Richard near their home in Youghal, Co Cork

Some of the fencing was removed and relocated today.

Supt Colm Noonan is leading the search operation and a full review of its work will be conducted on Friday.

The first anniversary of Tina's disappearance is next Tuesday.

Searches of Mitchel's Wood were ordered after gardaí received a telephone tip-off that "significant activity" was spotted by a member of the public around the forestry in March last year.

However, gardaí will decide following their search review on Friday whether the operation should be extended into next week or called off.

Supt Noonan initially indicated the search would last for between two and three weeks.

Tina, who is originally from Fermoy, disappeared from her Youghal home while her husband, Richard, claimed he was on an errand to Dungarvan in Waterford.

When he returned, he claimed he spotted Tina's keys lying on the floor.

Tina Satchwell
Tina Satchwell

Two suitcases were missing as well as items of Tina's clothing.

However, her beloved dog, Ruby, was left alone in the house.

Mr Satchwell has insisted he had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance.

"I am still hoping Tina will be found safe and well," he said.

"If you don't have hope, you don't have anything. I will always live in hope because that is all I have."

"I am hoping that Tina is out there and she is going to get in touch. I don't want to go down the road of thinking the other way because I wouldn't be able to cope."

He said he believes someone helped his wife with her disappearance - and claimed €26,000 is also missing from the family home.

However, Mr Satchwell is adamant he does not believe his wife is dead.

The couple, who met when Tina was 17, were 26 years married last November.

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