Daughter's return 'like winning lotto'

Published Tuesday, 15 July 2014
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The father of an Enniskillen woman who went missing over a year ago said it was miraculous she has been found and news of her discovery was "like winning the lotto".

Nollaig O'Connor was studying music in Aberdeen last year before she went missing after failing to show for a doctor's appointment.

Police were able to trace the 38-year-old's whereabouts to London and then onto Cornwall but from there the trail went cold.

It was only by a chance encounter that a friend of the family found Nollaig sleeping under a tree in Spain last week.

Her father Bernard said the past 14 months had been a rollercoaster of emotion and at times he thought the worst.

He told UTV: "At times you thought she had just gone abroad and taken a notion that she wanted to be alone.

"At other times I had not so pleasant thoughts.

"But she was never from my mind, I was constantly looking at people all the time to see if they were Nollaig."

Last Friday Bernard received a phone call from Enniskillen hotel owner Mickey Cassidy saying he had found his daughter sleeping under a tree in Murcia in Spain.

It was like an explosion of phone calls going through our family with everyone ringing each other with the news.

Bernard O'Connor

Bernard continued: "The chance and the timing were just amazing.

"It was an amazing piece of news, one that you would have doubted but for the fact it came from Mickey.

"He would have known Nollaig very well and he just spotted her lying under a tree sleeping and got quite the shock when she answered back to him when he called out her name.

"Our family will always be very grateful to Mickey and his wife for the way they handled the situation and the way they looked after her.

"It was a miraculous discovery, an answer to the many prayers and for me it's like winning the lotto."

Bernard said it was "very timely she was found when she was".

"She had lost her violin, her passport and her bank card," he explained.

"Nollaig was relying on the good will of others and in a foreign country, she was in a very vulnerable place.

"But she is home now and getting the care she needs."

The retired school teacher added: "I remember a man from Co Meath called me to say he found his daughter after seven years and to never give up.

"I just thought my case was different, but it just goes to show you not to give up hope.

"I would say to others in the same position to just keep the faith."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Linda in Lisburn wrote (199 days ago):
Brilliant news ,a happy ending for the family.
eddy in belfast wrote (200 days ago):
Great result, I hope all bodes well for her and her family.
James mcdermott BUZZ in South Belfast the markets wrote (200 days ago):
Im really thrilled and over the moon for this man and his family finding his daughter after all that time i just wish people like the mccanns could have some closure my heart goes out for people like the mccanns this mans nightmare is over hes finally found his daughter again he wont let her go again a hurry
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