Monday 23 July 2018

'My beautiful, funny, intelligent baby' - mum's tribute after body of missing teen Elisha (14) recovered from River Suir

  • Body recovered from River Suir confirmed as that of missing Tipperary teen Elisha Gault (14)
  • 'Our baby girl has been recovered, thank you all for your efforts in bringing her home to us, so we can now lay her to rest' - devastated mum of Elisha
  • Gardaí pay tribute to the hundreds of volunteers who supported the massive search operation for the Carrick-on-Suir schoolgirl, who was missing since St Patrick's Day
  • Full post mortem examination is expected to be conducted today
  • 'You are so beautiful, with brains to burns and hilariously funny, we miss your craic' - family's appeal
  • Gardaí treating death of young girl as a 'personal tragedy'
'My beautiful, funny, intelligent baby' - Elisha's mother, Gráinne, has thanked the hundreds of search volunteers
'My beautiful, funny, intelligent baby' - Elisha's mother, Gráinne, has thanked the hundreds of search volunteers

Conor McCrave, Ian Begley and Ralph Riegel

Elisha Gault's mother has paid tribute to the tragic teenager, describing her as a "beautiful, funny and intelligent" person.

Grainne Gault issued a heartfelt 'thank you' to the search teams that recovered her "baby girl" after eight days of extensive searches across south Tipperary and beyond.

Elisha (14) was last seen shortly after 10pm on the evening of St Patrick's Day on Dillon Bridge in the Tipperary town of Carrick-on-Suir.

Hundreds of search volunteers supported the massive operation for the schoolgirl, before a body discovered in the River Suir yesterday evening was confirmed last night to be that of the missing teen.

Elisha Gault
Elisha Gault

Writing on her Facebook page, where she issued numerous public appeals for her missing daughter during the week, the 14-year-old's mother Grainne wrote; "Our baby girl has been recovered, thank you all for your efforts in bringing her home to us, so we can now lay her to rest."

There is now "huge sadness" in the Tipperary community today, a local councillor told Independent.ie.

Sinn Féin's David Dunne said there was a "huge community effort" in the search for Elisha Gault who went missing on St.Patrick's Day. He thanked the efforts of the all those who helped in the search and said "everyone is going to rally around the family" over the coming days.

Local priest, Fr Paul Waldron, said that "a blanket of anxiety" has covered the community.

"On behalf of the Faith Community of Carrick on Suir and surrounding areas we extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Gault Family at this most tragic of times. We want to assure them of our continued prayerful support, not only in these days, but also in the days ahead.

"We are also very conscious of Elisha's friends, school companions and teachers, we hold them in prayer and assure them of ongoing care and concern.

Missing Elisha Gault (14)
Missing Elisha Gault (14)

"Since Elisha's disappearance last Saturday night a blanket of anxiety has covered our community. A community which has rallied round and left no stone unturned in their efforts to find her.

"We wish to pay a deep tribute to our Gardai, the many and tremendous rescue services and all the volunteers that untiringly searched for Elisha over the last eight days.

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

"There is in this community an extraordinary sense of care and mutual support, which always manifests itself at times of difficulty and tragedy, never more so than in these recent days."

The principal of the school where Elisha was a pupil has paid tribute to the young teenager saying she "will be missed by all who knew her".

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

In a statement he said; "We learned yesterday evening of the death of one of our students Elisha Gault. This is a terrible tragedy for her family, our schools and our community."

"We are deeply saddened by this news. Our sympathy and thoughts are with Elisha’s family and friends."

He added that the school has implemented a 'Critical Incident Management Plan' and that psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service are attending the school to provide support.

Search

Gardaí confirmed last night that the remains discovered in the Carrick-on-Suir river at Killowen shortly after 6pm on Sunday were those of the 14-year-old who had been missing for eight days.

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

The Office of the State Pathologist was notified and a full post mortem examination is expected to be conducted on Monday.

Gardai confirmed to Independent.ie that they are not treating Elisha Gault's death as suspicious and are describing it as a "personal tragedy". 

They are currently liaising with Elisha's parents, Gráinne and Cameron, and her extended family who had supported a massive search operation for her over the past eight days.

The devastated family are being comforted by friends and neighbours.

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

It was spotted by the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard Sikorsky helicopter.

The helicopter was conducting sweeps of the river as part of the ongoing search operation for the missing teen.

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

It is understood the remains were recovered from a stretch of river between Fiddown and Piltown as the River Suir marks the boundary between Waterford and Kilkenny.

The tragic discovery came just hours after Elisha's heartbroken family had pleaded with the public to contact Gardaí if they spotted anything unusual, no matter how trivial, as they marked one week since her disappearance.

Elisha's heartbroken parents, Gráinne and Cameron, were supported by family, neighbours and friends as they marked one week since the teen disappeared on St Patrick's Day.

Gráinne had also 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.

Social media had played a key role in the appeal for information on Elisha's whereabouts.

"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.

Sighting

Gráinne had spent the week issuing heart-rending appeals 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 burns and hilariously funny."

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

The massive search effort had extended beyond Tipperary to Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and even 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."

Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue were supported by the Civil Defence and the specialist Garda Water Unit which deployed its operational unit on the town quays.

The search had also been supported by volunteer search units from Clonmel, Waterford and Nenagh.

Divers were supported by Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBS) which shuttled up and down the River Suit all day between search zones.

  • If you have been affected by any issues raised in this article, please contact The Samaritans free helpline on 116 123 or by  email to jo@samaritans.ie

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