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Search for missing teen John Paul Smyth ends in tragedy

The search for a missing 15-year-old boy from Newry has ended in tragedy this evening (Saturday).

John Paul Smyth was last seen in Warrenpoint in New Year’s Eve.

He had been missing for four days.

Search and rescue teams had been desperately scouting the area, including local beaches for any information on John Paul’s disappearance.

Those searches officially concluded earlier with the recovery of a body from the water in Warrenpoint.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Thank you to everyone for all your help and support and who shared our appeal to find missing teenager 15 year John Paul (JP) Smyth.

“Sadly, we are no longer searching for JP and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends this evening.”

Independent councillor Jarlath Tinnelly said: “Very sad news from Warrenpoint tonight, young man’s body has been recovered from the water.

“Initial indications are this was nothing more than an tragic accident.

“My thoughts and prayers are with John Paul’s family and this tragic time. RIP.”

Independent councillor Mark Gibbons commented: “It is incredibly hard to find the words at this moment regarding the tragic passing of young John Paul Smyth.

“Paul’s body was found today at Warrenpoint Pier and his family have been notified.

“I am confident in saying that all the people of Warrenpoint and surrounding areas are truly devastated by this tragic development and I know that this community will rally around the family and friends of JP as they mourn the passing of their beloved son.

“I would like to personally thank the Coast Guard, Emergency Services, Diving Teams, Search & Rescue teams, PSNI, Voluntary Search teams and the Warrenpoint community for their heroic and tireless work, regarding the search operation for John Paul.

“This is believed to have been a tragic accident and my thoughts and prayers are with John Paul’s dear family and friends at this tragic time.”

Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady expressed his deepest sympathies to family and friends.

He said: “The tragic death of JP has deeply impacted on the wider community, and the thoughts and prayers of all are with those trying to come to terms with his death.

“By all accounts JP, a student at St Paul’s High School, was a popular young man. St Paul’s staff have taken steps to help support any students affected by this terrible loss.

“Finally I would also commend all who have been involved in the search to locate JP.”

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