herald

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Tragic dad Joe dies in river that claimed son David's life in 2011

Joe ‘Ruby’ Colhoun spent months searching for his son
Joe ‘Ruby’ Colhoun spent months searching for his son

A father who spent months scouring the River Foyle for his missing son has died after being pulled from the same stretch of the river.

Co Donegal man Joe 'Ruby' Colhoun died on Saturday just hours after he was recovered from the Foyle.

Mr Colhoun spent 10 months searching for his son, David, who disappeared more than seven years ago.

The 22-year-old had been arrested by gardai in Strabane, but escaped custody and attempted to swim across the Foyle at Lifford Bridge in April 2011.

Tragically, his body was swept away without trace.

Mr Colhoun spent the next 10 months searching the Foyle for his son's body, along with rescue teams from both sides of the Border.

He vowed to find David so that he could be buried alongside his mother, who had died of a brain tumour the previous year.

It was not until February 2012 that David's body was found by a man operating a digger on the riverbank.

"This is all I have been looking for all these months," Mr Colhoun said at the time.

"Our lives have been hell. Now we can put David's soul to rest once and for all.

"I could not have rested or stopped searching until I found him.

"I no longer have to go down to that river every day looking and knowing he is in there.

Peace

"He is safe again now. He will be beside his mother forever and I can take some peace in that for the rest of my own days."

Mr Colhoun was found in the Foyle on Friday.

Tributes have been paid to the Mr Colhoun, who was a well-known fisherman and community activist.

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