herald

Monday 20 August 2018

Mother's joy after garda alert teen found

A SCHOOLBOY at the centre of an abduction alert was reunited with his mother last night after a frantic garda search.

Sait Canbullu (15) from Sligo was located in Ballymote in the county yesterday afternoon, 28 hours after a nationwide hunt began.

The alert was sparked by an eye-witness report that Sait (right) had been bundled into a car by masked men in Wexford just after 1pm on Saturday.

Danger

Gardai immediately issued a rare Child Rescue Ireland alert fearing the teenager's life was in danger.

Officers investigated one reported sighting in Sandymount in Dublin on Saturday night.

But just before lunchtime yesterday, gardai stood down the alert having established the initial eye-witness report could no longer be relied upon.

Less than four hours later officers acting on a tip-off found Sait in Ballymote, 20kms from his home.

His mother, Hilda Murrin, had earlier taken to social media begging the public to help find her son.

"She is so relieved," said a family friend last night.

"She wants to thank everyone involved in helping to find Sait. It has been a dreadful weekend for the family but thankfully it has ended well."

Gardai and child welfare experts were last night talking to the boy about his movements since his disappearance.

Officers have also begun a wide-ranging review of the case after issuing the rescue alert, just the fifth of its kind.

Sources said witness statements given to gardai on Saturday are being reviewed as a result of the case.

"Anyone found to have misled gardai could face criminal charges," said one source.

Earlier gardai had held a press conference in Dublin to explain why the abduction alert was dropped.

Asked about reports of masked men, a garda spokesman said: "That was our information at that point in time. It happened at 1.10pm, we spent a number of hours investigating before we launched this CRI Alert. With those checks at that point in time, and with the information that we had at that point in time, the criteria [for a CRI] were met."

hnews@herald.ie

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