Noah Donohoe's family is seeking a meeting with Ireland's Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and also writing letters to TDs as they are unsatisfied with the Police Service of Northern Ireland's (PSNI) investigation into the Belfast teen's mysterious death in June 2020.
“The PSNI has not done a thorough investigation," Noah’s aunt told The Irish Independent. “They need to step it up, and the Irish Government can bring pressure to bear that we can’t as a family.”
The family is reportedly emphasizing the fact that Noah, whose naked body was found in a storm drain in Belfast six days after he went missing, was an Irish passport holder.
The family's appeal to the Irish government comes after the PSNI announced on February 3 that a separate investigation had been launched regarding access to the storm drain network, convenient to Premier Drive / Northwood Road in North Belfast, which is owned by the Department of Infrastructure."
This comes in addition to the "ongoing coronial investigation" into Noah's death.
Police launch investigation into storm drain access regarding tragic death of Noah Donohoe pic.twitter.com/q6dtCX0RCu— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) February 3, 2021
Noah Donohoe, 14, went missing at about 5:30 pm on Sunday, June 21 when he went cycling across Belfast City.
He was seen abandoning his clothes and cycling naked around four kilometers from his home some minutes later, leading police to believe that he fell from his bike and hit his head as both his family and the police say that this sort of behavior is "completely out of character."
Police officers found the teenager's backpack and laptop computer in a search on June 26. On June 27, the PSNI said in a statement that they located a body in North Belfast believed to be that of Noah Donohoe’s.
A post-mortem later said that Donohoe died as a result of drowning, a result which Andree Murphy, a spokesperson for the Donohoe family and member of Relatives for Justice, said "raises more questions than answers."
An inquest into Noah Donohoe's death has been set for January 2022.
In a heartbreaking interview with Ireland AM which aired on February 23, Noah’s mother Fiona and aunt Niamh recounted the search for the Belfast teen, their tragic goodbye, and what they envision his legacy to be. They also continue to raise concerns about the PSNI’s search strategy for the six days that Noah was missing.
“He was the light of my life,” Fiona said of her only child, “He was just so enthusiastic about life.”
Fiona, visibly distraught, recalls that she and Noah frequently gave each other hugs and told each other “I love you,” which she encourages other parents to do as often as possible. The last time Fiona saw her son, the two, like usual, shared a hug.
On Sunday, June 21, 2020, Fiona began to worry when Noah didn’t phone home at the designated time to check in after heading out to meet friends. She called a friend and together they went to search the route and area that Noah would have been heading for.
“As a parent, I felt something wasn’t right,” Fiona said. “I kept worrying. I looked up and down the street as it was getting darker. I didn’t want to phone the police because once I phoned the police, I was making it real that something wasn’t right.”
The missing person report about Noah went out the following morning, kicking off a massive search for the teen. Fiona notes that 24 hours after Noah went missing, his bike was found at the top of the cul-de-sac with no way out.
Noah’s aunt said that as the search went on, “Two eyewitnesses came forward stating that they had seen a child cycle past naked and thought it was a Father’s Day prank.”
Fiona remarked: “Both of them said they thought it was a Father’s Day prank, a child naked on a bike.”
Six days after the search began, Noah’s naked body was discovered in a storm drain on June 27.
Fiona now says: “I have so many issues over this search, actually, and the police’s strategy over this search and why it took six days."
She added: “I know instinctively, he was trying to find another storm drain that was open,” she said. “He may have thought, there’s another way out, and that’s just my instinct on it.”
“He was found 20 meters from another manhole, yet it took six days. I have questions to the police about why it took six days and what was their strategy.”
Fiona says she and her family are grateful for the outpouring of support from the wider community and how Noah’s school, St. Malachy’s, banded together to honor the late teen after his death.
The Noah Donohoe Foundation has since been launched as a way to honor the late teen who had a keen interest in sports, academia, and music.