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'I really thought I would never see her again', says overjoyed mum as Karen is back in her arms

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Karen Scott home safe and well

Karen Scott home safe and well

Karen with her mother

Karen with her mother

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Karen Scott home safe and well

Tears of joy and relief flowed freely as missing woman Karen Scott was reunited with her mother.

After six days of deepening anxiety and fearing the worst, her exhausted mother Kathleen kissed and hugged her and said: "I'll be able to sleep tonight and I mightn't wake up for a month."

Karen (44), who has Down syndrome and special needs, went missing from her home in Barnmore Grove in Finglas, last Friday.

A huge search operation - involving gardai, more then 100 friends and neighbours and Civil Defence personnel - came to a happy end when Karen was found on a bus on O'Connell Street yesterday.

A man saw her on the No 40 and called gardai, who quickly arrived.

"I got a call from the gardai in Store Street who told me: 'We have her'," said Kathleen. "I told them: 'Don't let her go'."

Kiss

Gardai drove Karen home where her relieved mother was waiting.

"I gave her a big hug and a kiss. Then she asked for a cup of tea and I thought: 'That's my baby'," said Kathleen.

"I thought I'd never see her again. I prayed every night for her. I'm over the moon. I'm going to have a rest for a month.

"I want to thank everybody who helped to look for her. I can't get over that there were so many good people helping to look for her. I'm so grateful to them all."

Volunteer search coordinator Robert Burke (35) said: "Everyone is very relieved that Karen is back home. There's plenty of tears of relief. We were told she was found on a bus in O'Connell Street.

"It was a great effort by the community, and by the Dublin Missing Persons Group, the gardai and the Civil Defence.

"Everyone's exhausted, but it's a good result. She's back. She didn't have her suitcase, but she's back."

Beverley Gannon, who managed the volunteers at the search base in Finglas youth club The Den, said: "We're so happy. We're in Disneyland and it's like riding the teacups and we're spinning, absolutely spinning."

Beverley said she was thrilled when fellow searcher Caroline Aaron telephoned her with the good news.

"After we got the call that she was found, we still had to sit at The Den and ring the 105 volunteers we had ready to go out looking," she said.

"We already had 42 people out since half-past-eight.

Delighted

"The fact that we had another 105 people ready to go, that's the people of Finglas for you. Say what you like about Finglas, but when the going gets tough, the tough come running to help. Amazing.

"We're the Finglas Volunteer Missing Person Search Group. We're delighted.

"People were out searching last night. We had a possible sighting at 10pm. From CCTV, we had it confirmed in 40 minutes that it wasn't her."

Several volunteers gathered outside the Scott home and cheered when Karen came out to accept a bouquet of flowers from those who had been out searching for her.

Neighbour and family friend Tom Carey (67) said: "There are loads of people at Kar-en's home coming to share the relief and joy. Everybody is ecstatic here.

"We heard she was found on a bus on O'Connell Street this morning and that the guards were informed. She's back home safe now.

"It's been six long days that she was missing. All the people who helped are to be thanked for everything they did, day after day, night after night, searching the streets.

"She's safe now and there's a lot of happy people in Finglas."

Another friend, Joe Lynch, still wearing the high-visibility vest that searchers wore over the past six days, said: "It's brilliant. When I walked into the house she just wrapped her arms around me. She got her picture taken with her mammy.

"All the people got together with their families over the last few days and showed a great community spirit in looking for one of our own.

"It's great. When something like this happens, the people of Finglas come out to help.

"It's great to see the people of Finglas bonding so well. They came from all over. We made new friends on the search.

Downcast

"People had been starting to feel very downcast as it was going on for so long. We tried to keep everybody's spirits up and be positive, and it worked out."

Joe's sister, Jean, said: "It's absolutely fantastic. We weren't going to stop searching.

"We went out very late until 3am or 4am in the morning. It didn't bother us. We would have stayed out longer. As the time went on, it was getting very scary, it was so long.

"If anything ever happens in future concerning anyone, we'd know what to do."

Gardai in Finglas launched a nationwide appeal for information when Karen went missing.

CCTV footage showed Karen walking on Berkeley Road in Phibsboro last Friday.

More footage emerged showing her in a pub on Burgh Quay later that night. Karen is a big fan of ballad music and would sometimes go into pubs.


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