Northern Ireland

Saoirse Smyth disappearance: Murder investigation launched

Saoirse Smyth Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Ms Smyth was last seen in Omeath in County Louth in April 2017. Her body has not been found.

A murder investigation has been launched after a Belfast woman disappeared in the Republic of Ireland more than six months ago.

In December 2017 police issued an appeal for information about the whereabouts of 28-year-old Saoirse Smyth.

A 40-year-old man was arrested in Newry on suspicion of murder on Wednesday but has since been released on bail.

Ms Smyth was last seen in Omeath in County Louth in April 2017.

Her body has not been found.

Police are working alongside An Garda Síochána (Irish police) and an address in Omeath is being searched in connection with her disappearance.

PSNI Det Ch Insp Geoff Boyce said that while "keeping an open mind," he believed the "potential existed that she had been murdered".

He said police were particularly interested in speaking to anyone who has seen Ms Smyth or been in contact with her since January 2017.

He added that she had not had any contact with her family or friends during this period, including on significant dates such as her birthday and Christmas, which was unusual.

Family's pleas

She has not responded to any of her family's pleas on social media.

This along, with other information obtained during the police investigation has led officers to believe that she may have been murdered.

Ms Smyth is described as having "very distinctive red hair".

A statement issued by police on behalf of her family said: "Somebody out there must know something about what has happened to Saoirse and we would plead with anyone who knows anything to contact the police - and Saoirse if you are out there, please contact your family and let us know you are okay."