Body Of Man Missing Since 1991 Found Inside Car At Bottom Of River In Northern Ireland
The body of a man who went missing 29 years ago has been found inside a car at the bottom of a river in Northern Ireland.
The car was discovered last month, and police believed could have been connected to the disappearance of James Patterson, who was reported missing in October 1991.
After the car – a Ford Orion – and its contents were found in the River Bann, they were taken for forensic testing, which determined that the body inside was that of Patterson’s. His family have since been informed.
The late 54-year-old was reportedly last seen at Mid Ulster Hospital in County Londonderry prior to his disappearance; his death isn’t being treated as suspicious.
A statement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said:
Police can confirm human remains were found following the recovery of a car from the River Bann at the New Ferry Road in Bellaghy last month.
The vehicle was recovered from the river in July and, following examination, it has been confirmed the human remains are those of James Patterson, who went missing on 6th October 1991.
The car was found by a local Community Search and Rescue team.
According to Patterson’s sister-in-law Mildred Patterson, at the time of his disappearance the River Bann was searched, leaving the family confused as to why his body has only been discovered now.
Speaking to the Mid-Ulster Mail, she said:
We always wondered where he went and if he would be found. I can’t understand why they didn’t get anything as the divers spent a full Saturday at Newferry searching. James went missing on October 6 and the search was either at around Christmas or early in the New Year.
James wasn’t a good driver and he stayed to the roads of South Derry. As far as I can remember he went to church on the Sunday morning, came home and changed his clothes and drove away.
Mildred added that her husband, Patterson’s brother, always thought he may have gone into the river. She described her late brother-in-law as a ‘quiet man’.
The discovery has also been welcomed by local politicians.
Derek McKinney, councillor for the Ulster Unionist Party, said:
I knew James’s brother, and he told me before he passed that he was a quiet man who would keep himself to himself. He said that he would think about his brother every night wondering where he had gone.
I hope this investigation will be able to give his family some answers after all of these years.
Our thoughts are with Patterson’s friends and family.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.