‘Living in fear’ after body is found in river

Pacemaker Press 07-03-2016: 
Five people have been arrested after a man's body was found in a stream in Portadown, County Armagh.
He was found close to Mourneview Street in Portadown on Sunday morning. Three men, a woman and a 17-year-old girl are being questioned in Belfast.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press 07-03-2016: Five people have been arrested after a man's body was found in a stream in Portadown, County Armagh. He was found close to Mourneview Street in Portadown on Sunday morning. Three men, a woman and a 17-year-old girl are being questioned in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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The partner of a young Lithuanian man found dead in Portadown has described how she is living in fear since his body was found in a local river.

And she told the Times that she is devastated following the discovery of her partner Eimantas Gerdvilas’ body.

The 31-year-old man’s remains were found in a stream in the Mourneview/Thomas Street area on Sunday morning almost a month after he went missing.

Eimantas had been living in the Killicomaine area for around four years with his partner Edita Matij.

Since Eimantas went missing on Friday, February 12, Edita had launched a massive social media campaign to try and find him.

Police and specialist teams including Lough Neagh Rescue, combed many areas of Portadown searching for Mr Gerdvilas.

However. since his body was found and a number of people were arrested and subsequently released, Edita says she has been living in fear.

“I’m just devastated. They live near me,” she said.

It has been a traumatic time for the young woman who went with her partner’s sister to identify his body this week.

She said, “Eimantas was a big character but a quiet man. We just lived a quiet family life. We were never in trouble and really had just a few close friends.”

The police have described the circumstances of Eimantas’ death as “suspicious” and Edita said she has been left terrified as a result of the tragedy.

“The police were useless before his body was found,” she claimed.

Since his disappearance, Edita and her friends had led an intense social media campaign in an attempt to find him.

“If the police had listened to me they may have found his body sooner. They never seemed to listen to me,” she said.

“Now we are living in fear. I would die if we met them in the street with my son,” she said. “It has been a dreadful experience.”

Police said they are studying the results of a post-mortem examination.

Three men, two aged 28 and the other 30, were arrested in relation to the death but were later released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Two women, aged 17 and 35, were released on Monday night. The 35-year-old was released on police bail, while the 17-year-old is to be reported to the Public Prosecution Service for withholding information.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee McNevison said, “We are treating Mr Gerdvilas’ death as suspicious and I am appealing to the community in Portadown for their assistance.

“I want to speak to anyone who saw Eimantas in the Mourneview Street/Annagh Industrial Estate area of Portadown in the early hours of Saturday, February 13 or at any time after this.”

Inspector McNevison added, “This appeal is to local people in the town and to members of the Lithuanian community living there.”

Meanwhile DUP MLA Sydney Anderson paid tribute to police as they investigate.

He said, ‘This is obviously a very worrying development in Portadown and I would hope that the police can quickly get to the bottom of what has happened.

“People living in the area will take great reassurance if the culprits can be apprehended and brought to justice.

“I have been speaking regularly to police in the area and they have been pro-active in their efforts. It is a sophisticated investigation which has been launched across three separate crime scenes which obviously adds to the difficulties they face.

“There is an onus on everyone in the community who might have any information about this crime to help the police with their investigation.”