UK

Police are continuing the search for a 21-year-old woman who has been missing for a week in Northern Ireland.

Chloe Mitchell was last seen on CCTV in the early hours of 3 June in Ballymena town centre in County Antrim.

A 26-year-old man has since been arrested in Lurgan, Co Armagh, and police say he is cooperating with their investigation.

CCTV footage showed Ms Mitchell heading in the direction of James Street, wearing a green and black North Face-style jacket, a white T-shirt, leggings and Nike trainers, PSNI Chief Inspector Arnie O’Neill said.

Police issued a fresh appeal for information in their search for Ms Mitchell on Friday afternoon, who they are now considering a high-risk missing person.

Mid and East Antrim District Commander, Superintendent Gillian Kearney, said: “I am appealing directly to Chloe to make contact with the police, family or friends so that we know you are safe and well.

“I am also asking the public to contact us if they have seen Chloe.

“I know she was last seen by family on Friday 2 June and then she is captured on CCTV in Ballymena Town Centre in the late hours of Friday 2nd into the early hours of Saturday 3rd. She was walking in the direction of James Street.

“We are becoming increasingly concerned about Chloe’s safety.

“It is completely out of character for her to not be in contact with her family, who are being supported by specialist officers during this worrying time.”

Search and rescue teams began searching for her around the River Braid yesterday.

Police directed the teams to a section of the river in the Castle Gardens area of Ballymena that included an embankment with an 18ft drop.

Meanwhile, several Community Rescue Service vehicles, including a specialist lowland search unit, attended the site at the River Braid.

Darren Harper, district commander for Community Rescue Service, said the search efforts have so far allowed them to eliminate some areas.

He said: “Today’s search is going to be just a continuation on from the search areas yesterday, just eliminating the areas that Chloe may not be in.”

Mr Harper said his team was well-equipped to deal with the difficulties in searching the steep embankment of the River Braid.

“We do have a tech team that will be able to get down there, so it’s not going to be so much of a challenge,” he said.

“It’s just because of the low light yesterday when this search area was identified within our search strategy. It was just a lot safer for our guys to try and access it during daylight hours.”

Ground teams have conducted searches in the areas around the river but also close to a property on James Street, near Ms Mitchell’s last known whereabouts, which had been cordoned off by police.

Mr Harper added that the teams were still hoping to find Ms Mitchell.

Community Rescue Service regional commander Sean McCarry announced that a search would begin on Friday with around 35 people, with more expected to join throughout the day.

The police were also active in the search, knocking on doors in the surrounding areas around the river and questioning residents about their presence and whether they had CCTV footage.

An independent councillor in Ballymena, Rodney Quigley, commended the search and rescue teams and local authorities for their collective work in the search operation.

However, he advised citizens not to lend an ear to hearsay and rumours circulating about the case.

Mr Quigley said there was very little information available on what may have happened to Ms Mitchell.

“I know she was a local girl, and she’s been missing a week now, which is very concerning, but nobody seems to have seen or heard tell of her anywhere and I’ve been speaking to quite a few people,” he said.

Community groups in Ballymena had also been carrying out searches for the missing young woman on Thursday, including the Harryville Residents Association and Ballykeel and District Community Association.

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