More than 2 weeks in, search for PJ goes on
Over two weeks since he was last seen, the family of 34 year-old father of two PJ Fanning are still a daily presence at Ferrycarrig, awaiting any glimmer of news as the search continues.
A native of Ballymitty, but now living in Ballymurn, PJ has been missing since the early hours of Sunday morning, February 24. PJ was last seen as his Audi A4 pulled away from outside McGees pub in town in the early hours of the morning and it was subsequently discovered in the car park at Ferrycarrig with the keys in the ignition. There has been no sighting of him since and no activity logged on bank cards or his phone.
Major searches have followed over the past 15 days with the RNLI, Slaney Search & Rescue, the Civil Defence, the Coast Guard and the garda sub-aqua unit all involved. Over the weekend, cars lined both sides as the N11 as volunteers arrived from all over to walk the river banks. Similarly boats patrolled the river constantly as worried family looked on.
Despite a couple of false alarms which circulated over the weekend, PJ's partner Mellissa Furlong, who is pregnant with PJ's child, was keen to stress that the search is ongoing and was appealing for people not to give up.
'There's been no change unfortunately,' she said. 'The search is very much still ongoing. We had a massive crowd out here over the weekend. Things really pick up at the weekend because people are off work and they can help out. This weekend could be a more difficult one with St Patrick's day.'
'I'd love to get more boats out on the water,' she added. 'Also we're looking to get more people out with drones that might be able to help spotting something. We've been told that we can't get the helicopter out again, so I think our best bet would be to get drones out looking'
While PJ is a father to a 14 year-old boy and a 10 year-old girl, Mellissa has two children of her own at home, as well as one on the way.
'Every day is getting tougher,' she confided.
'You're here every day until six or seven o'clock and then to hear that there's still nothing is tough. Every day you think, "this is it, this is the day we'll have some news".'
'People have been so good to us though, it's unbelievable. People we didn't even really know before have become like family over the course of the search. We have people dropping out with sandwiches and tea. We've been blown away. We couldn't ask for more.'
Now as we enter day 16 since PJ was last seen, the family are asking people to continue their efforts to find him and are praying that they don't enter into a third week with no news.