Northern Ireland

Suspected human remains found during Damien Heagney search

Damien Heagney has been missing since December
Damien Heagney has been missing since December Damien Heagney has been missing since December

Police investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of Damien Heagney have recovered suspected human remains from a Co Tyrone reservoir.

The 47-year-old was reported missing on July 19 - almost seven months after the last reported sighting of him.

A police dive team searched the reservoir outside the village of Cappagh in Co Tyrone yesterday while specialist PSNI officers with dogs combed the surrounding area on foot.

A recovery operation later swung into place after the suspected remains were found.

A spokesman for the PSNI last night said: "Major Investigation Team detectives and specialist officers carrying out a search of the Cappagh Reservoir as part of an ongoing investigation into disappearance and murder of 47-year-old Damien Heagney, have recovered suspected human remains which have been taken away for examination.

"Enquiries are ongoing and there are no further details at present."

Mr Heagney was last seen in the Dromore area of Co Tyrone on December 31.

Earlier this week police confirmed that three properties have been searched, two in the Cookstown area and one in Dromore, as part of their investigation.

"A number of items have been taken away for further examination," a spokeswoman later said.

Last weekend a 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after a property was searched in the Cookstown area on Saturday.

He was later released on bail pending further enquiries

At a press conference yesterday Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Wilson said: "After carrying out a series of inquiries, we have now launched a murder investigation.

"Damien is 47 years of age, around 5' 10" tall, of stocky build and has links to the Tyrone area.

"The investigation team, with support from specialist colleagues, have to date searched three residential properties in the Tyrone area.

"A number of items have been taken away for further examination."

She revealed that a £20,000 reward has been put up by Crimestoppers.

"I want to make the following appeal," she said.

"Damien was last seen in the Dromore area in the early hours of December 31.

"I want to appeal to anyone who saw Damien at any stage to contact us."

She confirmed Mr Heagney's car has been found.

"We have recovered his vehicle, a grey BMW FX6 6JXR which is currently being examined," she said.

"We have also identified another vehicle of interest, a white Citroen Berlingo van, registration number LM58 UVW.

"We know that the Citroen van travelled in the Tyrone and Fermanagh areas between Friday December 31 and Friday January 7."

Ms Wilson also revealed that Mr Heagney's dog Tyson, a three-year old black coloured Rottweiler cross breed is also missing.