The human remains discovered on Tuesday morning on the banks of the River Foyle will be released to the family of missing Lifford man David Colhoun later today, gardaí confirmed.
Mr. Colhoun’s family had already believed that Tuesday’s discovery of skeletal remains on the banks of the River Foyle had brought their tragic, nine-month search to a close.
Mr. Colhoun, age 22, of Beechwood Grove in Lifford, has been missing since early on May 22nd, 2011, after he escaped from PSNI custody. He was arrested for what police described as minor offences.
David’s father, Joseph Calhoun, said he was “sad, but relieved it’s over”. Mr. Colhoun has never stopped searching for his son, who was last seen on CCTV footage heading toward the Mourne River that morning.
“I’m happy knowing that when I do get him home I will be able to bury him along with his mother,” Mr. Colhoun said.
Mr. Colhoun said a blue hoodie found with the remains was identified as belonging to David. “We are satisfied it is him,” he said.
Professor Marie Cassidy, state pathologist, conducted the post-mortem in Letterkenny General Hospital yesterday.
Garda Superintendent Vincent O’Brien said that the identity was inconclusive insofar as dental records, but there were other matters that assisted gardaí in the identification. Samples have been taken for DNA analysis.
At about 9 am on Tuesday, a man operating a digger discovered the remains on the banks at the Islandmore section of Lifford, about three miles from Lifford Bridge and about half a mile from the old railway bridge. The man contacted gardaí immediately and the Colhoun family were informed shortly after.
“It was a shock,” Mr. Colhoun said. “It took a lot out of me.”
The garda water unit was back at at first light yesterday, and recovered further remains.
“We never gave up hope,” Mr. Colhoun said. “Like we said, we’d get him.”