Northern Ireland

Caroline Graham murder: New PSNI search in Portadown

Dogs and forensic science officers
Image caption Specially trained victim recovery dogs have been brought in to help in the search for Caroline Graham

Specially trained victim recovery dogs that can identify traces of human remains are being used in a new search for a missing teenager.

Caroline Graham was 19 and living with her boyfriend at Hanover Street, in Portadown, County Armagh, when she disappeared in March 1989.

A murder inquiry was launched in August 2012 after police said they had a number of new lines of inquiry.

Monday's search has been taking place at the house in Hanover Street.

The search is being conducted with the consent of the current owner who, police believe, has no knowledge of the events of 1989.

Officers have carried out a number of searches in the Portadown area over the years, but Caroline's body has not been found.

Image caption Caroline Graham went missing from her home in Portadown in 1989

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery, said: "It is more than 25 years since Caroline was last seen and almost two years since the most recent phase of investigative activity resumed.

"Despite all the hurdles posed by the passage of time, I still believe that a form of closure is possible for Caroline and her family.

"Our appeals for information have been productive. In general, people have been very helpful.

"We are now at a point where it is appropriate to once again begin a planned search operation, primarily to locate Caroline's remains, but also as an important part of the overall investigation into her murder."

He said Caroline had been for a night out in Banbridge with a girlfriend and had stayed part of the night in a hostel in Portadown, but was gone in the morning.

Buried in Portadown

Ch Insp Montgomery said police have information that she returned to Hanover Street to get some clothes. She has not been seen since.

"I believe she was murdered some time later and that her remains are somewhere in Portadown," he said.

"All our enquiries lead us to believe there is more than one person who knows exactly where Caroline is buried.

"We need them to come forward and tell us exactly what they know.

"Whoever is responsible for Caroline's murder may have spoken to people and they may know exactly what has happened to Caroline."

The detective added that two men, possibly off-duty soldiers, who gave Caroline a lift in a black Ford XR3i on the night before she disappeared had yet to come forward.

He said the men are not being treated as suspects, but need to come forward.

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