Update: Missing teen Svetlana Murphy located safe and well

Update: Missing teen Svetlana Murphy located safe and well

The PSNI located the 14-year-old in Belfast last night.

A major cross-border search for missing Louth girl Svetlana Murphy ended with relief after she was found safe and well.

The PSNI located the 14-year-old in Belfast and she was due to be reunited with her family on Thursday night.

Gardaí issued a Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) alert around midnight on Wednesday after they became seriously concerned for Svetlana’s safety.

It is understood that PSNI officers arrested Mr Maculevicius and will be liaising with gardaí.

Svetlana’s family had not heard from her after she was seen leaving her home on the Beach Rd, Blackrock, with 18-year-old Nojus Maculevicius on Monday.

Gardaí had believed there was an “immediate and serious risk” to the Louth girl’s safety and said they urgently needed to locate her and “return her to her family”.

Svetlana was reported missing on Monday evening after she left her family home with Mr Maculevicius that afternoon.

Neither of them had been in contact with their families since.

Mr Maculevicius was driving his metallic-grey Hyundai and travelled north. The pair were spotted in Newry at around 7pm on Monday and the car was seen in Belfast city centre at 5.35pm on Wednesday.

While the teenagers know each other, the case is technically considered an abduction as Svetlana is a minor and gone since Monday without her parents’ permission and Mr Maculevicius is an adult.

Gardaí issued a missing person’s appeal for Svetlana on Tuesday. On Wednesday, senior officers issued a Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) alert around 12 midnight. They are issued rarely and only in the most serious of cases.

There have been seven previous CRI cases since it was set up in 2012. In all but one case, the children were recovered safely.

Certain criteria must be met before a CRI can be issued, including that there is a reasonable belief that the child “has been abducted” and a reasonable belief that there is “an immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child”.

Sources said Mr Maculevicius had only a “small amount of cash” when he left Blackrock on Monday.

During the search, gardaí were monitoring any use of bank cards, both at ATMs and in-store, including garages.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said: “Such welcome news and a huge relief that Svetlana Murphy has been found safe and well. 

"Well done to An Garda Síochána and their colleagues in the PSNI for their great work and co-operation.”

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