POLICE spent an entire day digging through concrete floors of a Carleton Street cafe in the search for murder victim Caroline Graham’s remains.
Staff in Cafe Portugese told the Times the police used specialist equipment to ‘see’ underground throughout the cafe before pinpointing areas to dig.
Caroline, who is originally from Newry, went missing 23 years ago. She had been living in Portadown with her boyfriend for around two years. She was just 19-years-old when she disappeared.
The PSNI said it is focussing on properties within 30-40 yards of premises which are now being used as the offices of Call-a-Cab taxis.
Detectives believe Caroline’s remains may be buried under a concrete floor. They are appealing to any builders who were working in Carleton Street in April 1989 to contact them.
Search activity on nearby waste ground has been suspended while police review the situation.
Police stressed that the current occupants have no knowledge of the events of 1989.
Searches of these properties began last week and staff in Cafe Portugese said the kitchen floor of their cafe was excavated.
A female staff member explained that the police searched the entire ground floor including the main cafe area and the toilets. They used specialist equipment in the search. However, she said the only place to be dug up was the kitchen area. They found nothing but a lot of water, she revealed.
It is understood the taxi offices were also searched by the PSNI.
Detective Chief Inspector Gary Crawford said they have information which “strongly suggests” Caroline’s remains are in the vicinity of Carleton Street taxi depot and cafe.
“We are also interested in five houses right beside there that we think may have been under renovation in and around the time of Caroline’s disappearance during Easter 1989,” he added.
DCI Crawford said there would be a small numbers of intelligence led searches beginning in the next few days.
One resident of a house close to the taxi depot said he had not been contacted by police and had only heard rumours so far. He said no one had contacted him about digging up his home.
After fresh information was obtained in August, a new investigation began into Caroline’s disappearance.
It initially focused on waste ground near the Hanover Street flat where she had been living with her boyfriend.
This was suspended just over a week ago when detectives then turned their attention to the nearby Carleton Street business premises.
Anyone with information can contact the PSNI on 07585 228283 or 0845 600 8000.