St Patrick's College holds prayer service after 'devastating' loss of Matthew McCallan

A prayer service has been held at St Patrick's College following the "devastating loss" of schoolboy Matthew McCallan.

The 15-year-old was was reported missing in the early hours of Sunday, after attending an event in Fintona, Co Tyrone.

A search operation took place and police on Monday said a body believed to be Matthew's had been found.

Detectives say they are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the 'unexplained' death of the teenager.

St Patrick's principal Catherine McHugh, who was part of the searches for Matthew, said his friends and family are heartbroken.

"He was a lovely boy," she told UTV.

Catherine McHugh, Matthew's school principal. Credit: UTV

"I suppose he was really just beginning to grow into himself. He had a lovely smile that would light up his eyes.

"He was a slow wit, a loyal friend, he had a tight group of friends and he would have been a good friend to them, a good son to his mummy and daddy and he would have known they loved him so much."

A book of condolence has also been opened at the school and counselling is being offered for Matthew's friends.

"It's such a devastating loss," Ms McHugh went on.

"His mummy and daddy are just so heartbroken, his friends and even for our school community it's such an impact to lose young Matthew."

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “Detectives will continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, which is currently being treated as unexplained.

“Police received a report of a missing person shortly after 3.30am on Sunday, 4 December when Matthew did not arrive home after attending an event in Fintona on Saturday night.

“Sadly a body, which we believe to be Matthew, was discovered in a ditch in the laneway of a property approximately two miles away from the social event today, Monday 5 December, at 11.45am.

“We are keeping an open mind and would appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

"Matthew was last seen at approximately 1.20am in the Ecclesville Centre, Fintona, and we are keen to establish his movements after this time."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.