Body of popular musician Michael Cullen found on Cave Hill after lengthy search
THE family of talented musician Michael Cullen have said they hope he is "looking down on them" after his body was recovered from Cave Hill Country Park yesterday following a high profile search since he went missing in early January.
Hundreds of people took part in searches, appeals and a social media campaign in a bid to trace the 33-year-old, from the North Circular Road, who was last seen on January 9.
Previous searches of the Cave Hill beauty spot in north Belfast, involving specialist mountain rescue teams and volunteers, failed to locate the Ulster University research officer, who was well known in local music circles.
Teams of volunteers, family members and friends helped in the search, with members of the public handing out flyers and leaflets to raise awareness. The search investigation had included the police helicopter, drones and specialist search dogs.
So sorry for Michael Cullen's family, as news breaks that his body has been recovered from Cavehill. There is too much sadness and suffering in this little country.— Mike Nesbitt (@mikenesbittni) January 31, 2018
Former world champion boxer Carl Frampton and Hollywood actor Kenneth Branagh also lent their support to the campaign #Help Find Michael Cullen.
However, in a post on social media last night his brother Niall confirmed that his remains had been found by rescue teams on Cave Hill where he was last seen.
"It's with the heaviest of hearts that I have to tell you that Michael has been recovered," he said.
"Despite all of our best efforts over the past three weeks, tragically it is not the outcome that all of us wished and prayed so hard for.
"Michael was a highly talented guy as those who saw him perform will testify to, but he was also a much loved son, brother, cousin and friend to many whose hearts are now broken.
"I can only hope he will look down on us and see the huge amount of love we all had for him.
"The Cullen family wish to thank everyone for their valiant efforts in trying to bring Michael home, we will never forget this", he added.
Detective Inspector Natalie McNally said: "Police can confirm that the body of a man has been found in the Cave Hill area of north Belfast
"A formal identification and post mortem examination will take place in due course however at this time police are not treating the death as suspicious".