Tuesday 11 December 2018

'We just want you home for a movie night' - family of missing Elisha (14) issue emotional appeal

  • No confirmed sightings of teen missing since St Patrick's Day
  • Massive search operation underway
  • Mother issues emotional appeal as she thanks community for support
Elisha Gault (14) has not been seen since she left her home in Carrick On Suir in Co Tipperary at around 10pm on Saturday March 17
Elisha Gault (14) has not been seen since she left her home in Carrick On Suir in Co Tipperary at around 10pm on Saturday March 17

Ralph Riegel

THE family of missing Tipperary teen Elisha Gault (14) issued an emotional appeal for her to return home for a movie night as they said they were "broken-hearted" by the failure of a massive search operation to locate her.

Elisha's mother, Gráinne Gault, confirmed that there has still been no concrete sighting" of her daughter since she was last spotted on Dillon Bridge in Carrick-on-Suir around 10pm on St Patrick's Day.

A search of the River Suir in the Tipperary town resumed at first light today with divers now being assisted by the use of side-scan sonar.

The special sonar device allows for a detailed analysis of the river bed.

Missing teenager Elisha Gault
Missing teenager Elisha Gault

In an emotional message, Gráinne and her family paid tribute to the hundreds of people who have supported the search for Elisha over the past seven days - and pleaded with the teen, if she hears the message, to return home safe.

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

"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."

Gráinne 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, Clonmel and Kilkenny.

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

Members of the Carrick on Suir search and rescue search the river Suir for missing girl, Elisha Gault, aged 14. (Photo: Damien Eagers)
Members of the Carrick on Suir search and rescue search the river Suir for missing girl, Elisha Gault, aged 14. (Photo: Damien Eagers)

"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, around 10.10pm.

Elisha was alone when last seen on CCTV camera footage.

The teen left home without a coat and without her mobile phone.

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

Gardai stressed that they are still hopeful that Elisha is alive and may be staying with an acquaintance somewhere else.

However, one Garda source acknowledged that fears for Elisha's welfare have mounted the longer she has remained untraced.

Search volunteers have combed the fast-flowing River Suir with divers conducting finger-tip searches of the riverbed and riverbanks. The main search has focused over the past week on a 1km stretch of the river downstream from Dillon Bridge.

However, over recent days the search has extended to a more challenging search area between 2km and 5km downstream of the town.

"There's a huge amount of debris down there including trees and branches. The river is also much deeper and more difficult to operate in because of holes left from the removal of gravel over the years," one search volunteer said.

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 has also been supported by 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.

A number of reported sightings of a young girl matching Elisha's description are being investigated by Gardai but, as yet, detectives indicated that they have not received any confirmed sightings.

Elisha's parents, Grainne and Cameron, issued another heartfelt appeal for information on her whereabouts.

Grainne, who works in a beauty salon in Carrick-on-Suir, has posted daily social media updates on the search for her daughter.

The mother urged Elisha or anyone with knowledge of the teen's whereabouts to come forward and help Gardai.

"If you know of her whereabouts, tell her she is not in trouble," Grainne said.

"She won't be forced to come home if she does not want to.

"We just want to know that she is safe and well so we can call off all the search efforts - and that myself, her Daddy and her three sisters love her very much, no matter what."

Elisha's father, Cameron, said the family are hoping and praying that she is safe and well, possibly staying with a friend outside her normal circle of acquaintances.

"We want to let her know that she is in no trouble whatsoever," he said.

In a direct appeal to Elisha he said: "Just make contact with us and let us know you are OK."

Clonmel's Supt William Leahy again appealed for public assistance in their search for Elisha.

He urged that if Elisha or any of her friends hear the appeal and have information on the teen's 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 five foot ten inches in height, of slim build, with blue eyes and dyed blonde hair.

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

Gardai and family are very concerned for Elisha and are appealing for anyone who has seen her or can assist in locating her to contact Clonmel Garda Station 052 6177640 , the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

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