A MAN has been charged with the murder of a 21-year-old woman who went missing from Ballymena in Co. Antrim.
Detectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team launched a huge search operation following the disappearance of Chloe Mitchell, who was last seen in the early hours of June 3.
On Sunday, June 11 the investigation was upgraded to a murder enquiry after suspected human remains were found.
“Tragically, we now have reason to believe that Chloe was murdered,” the PSNI stated.
“Our thoughts this evening are very much with Chloe’s family and we have specialist officers providing them with support at this heart-breaking time,” they added.
“I would like to thank the community in Ballymena and the Search and Rescue teams for their help in trying to find Chloe.”
Brandon John Rainey, 24, of James Street, Ballymena, has been charged with murder.
Ryan Johnson Gordon, 34, of Nursery Close, Ballymena, has been charged with assisting offenders.
Both men appeared before Ballymena Magistrate’s Court via video link today (June 12), where the court heard that Mr Rainey has serious mental health problems and is a paranoid schizophrenic.
Mr Rainey’s defence lawyer said he denied the charge against him.
Both men were remanded in custody until their next court appearance.
Mr Rainey, who did not apply for bail, is due to appear at court again on July 6, while Mr Gordon will attend a bail application hearing at Ballymena Magistrates Court on June 20.
SDLP justice spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin said today: “It is just heartbreaking that such a young life has been taken, particularly in such terrible circumstances, and I cannot imagine the grief that the [family] all must feel.”
She added: “We can never allow ourselves to be desensitized by this violence.
“Far too many women in Northern Ireland continue to lose their lives and we must do everything in our power to address this situation.”