Brandon John Rainey, 26, and Ryan Johnston Gordon, 34, both of Ballymena, Co Antrim, have both been charged in relation to the disappearance of Chloe Mitchell, 21.
Rainey appeared via video link at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on Monday, June 12 where he was charged with the murder of Mitchell between June 2 and June 5.
Gordon, meanwhile, was charged with assisting an offender in connection with the disappearance of Mitchell.
Both defendants were remanded into custody. Rainey’s case was adjourned to July 6 and Gordon’s bail application will be heard on June 20, the Irish Times reports.
On June 8, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launched an appeal for information about Mitchell, who they said was last seen in the late hours of Friday, June 2 into the early hours of Saturday, June 3 in Ballymena Town Centre.
A 26-year-old man was arrested in Lurgan in the scope of the search on June 8, while a 34-year-old man was arrested in Ballymena on June 10, PSNI said.
Monday’s charges come the day after the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced that they had launched a murder inquiry following the discovery of suspected human remains in Ballymena.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Millar said on Sunday: “Sadly, today detectives have recovered suspected human remains in Ballymena, and while there has been no formal identification, we have now launched a murder inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 21-year-old Chloe Mitchell, who was a high-risk missing person.
“Earlier this week, we launched a criminal investigation into Chloe’s disappearance.
“Tragically, we now have reason to believe that Chloe was murdered.
“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.
“I would like to thank the community in Ballymena and the Search and Rescue teams for their help in trying to find Chloe.
“Two men, aged 26 and 34, remain in police custody helping police with their inquiries. Further details will follow in due course.”
In a heartbreaking social media post on Sunday, Mitchell's sister said: "You're safe now in the arms of the angels. I love you and will never stop loving you.
"I will always look after Mum and Dad for you as I know you would have wanted me to keep my strength up for them and that's what I'm doing, sis, making you proud."
Michelle O'Neill, the First Minister-designate of Northern Ireland, said on Monday that her heart goes out to Mitchell's family while also demanding justice.
My heart goes out to the family, friends and local community to which Chloe Mitchell proudly loved and belonged, as they come to terms with the devastating news. Women and girls in this society need to be safe & sadly, we are seeing the horrific reality that this isn’t the case.…— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) June 12, 2023
The charity Turning Point NI announced on Monday that they are organizing a vigil for Mitchell to be held this Wednesday, June 14 in King Georges Park, Harryville.