New search begins for remains of Arlene Arkinson

The PSNI will today begin a new round of searches for the body of Castlederg teenager Arlene Arkinson, who's been missing for 17 years.

The 15 year old  was last seen during a night out in Bundoran in August 1994, in the company of Robert Howard, a known sex offender and child murderer.

In 2005, Howard was tried and acquitted, although at the time, the jury was unaware he was at the time serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder of a 14 year old girl  from South London.

Three years ago Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson was critical of the police handling of Arlene’s disappearance. He found that evidence in the search for her killer was unavailable because police delayed arresting Howard, and detectives “did not respond with vigour to reports that a vulnerable person was missing, having last been seen in the company of a man who was a known sex offender”.

Police said earlier this month the search could involve digs at up to 40 sites, with searchers assisted by specialist forensic officers and sniffer dogs.

Specialist archealogical equipment used in the searches for the disappeared is also being deployed.

Speaking to Greg Hughes on this morning's Shaun Doherty Show, Kathleen Arkinson said while she had no confidence in the RUC at the time of the initial investigation, she believes the PSNI is now doing all it can.

She's thanked all who have supported the family in the past, and is hopeful that this search will lead to the recovery of Arlene's body...............

[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/katha1pm.mp3[/podcast]