by Chloe St John
The family of missing Pat McCormick say they’re relieved his body's been found.
The 55 year-old was last seen alive in Comber on the 30th of May.
Police believe he was murdered.
On Tuesday, specialist divers recovered his remains in a lake in Ballygowan.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery has a statement from The McCormick family:
An anonymous tip led them to conduct searches in several lakes in the Ballygowan area over three days prior to the discovery.
Detectives believe Mr McCormick was killed in or around the vicinity of flats in Castle Street, Comber.
BREAKING: Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery confirms missing father of four Pat McCormick’s body was recovered yesterday afternoon in a lake in Ballygowan. pic.twitter.com/IvTxh96P0A— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) July 10, 2019
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery, who is leading the investigation, encouraged the person who provided the information to come forward to speak to him directly - though he said he would respect their decision if they chose not to.
"First and foremost my thoughts are with Pat's family as they come to terms with this," he added.
Mr McCormick's wife Alison issued a statement of thanks through the PSNI.
"I would like to thank the Comber community for all their help and information that they have given police to help recover Pat," she said.
"Myself and his four children are truly thankful."
Mr McCormick's brother Harry also thanked the public for their support.
"The last six weeks have been devastating for his parents, brothers, wife and beautiful four children, however, we are grateful to now have Pat home for our final goodbyes and burial," he said in a statement.
"A massive thank you to everyone for their support and prayers, especially the public of Comber. As a family in mourning we would now ask for privacy.
"We know the PSNI are doing everything they can for us and Pat to get justice."
Police have conducted 38 searches to date and spoken to 235 witnesses.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery makes further appeal in Pat McCormick murder investigation, following the recovery of his body. Pat’s phone still hasn’t been found and police are still seeking info on a blue transit van seen on Killinchy Rd on May 30th: pic.twitter.com/Dvy5l8HvIR— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) July 10, 2019
Six people have been arrested during the course of the investigation, all of whom were subsequently released on bail pending further enquiries.
Mr Montgomery said: "While finding Pat's body brings to an end some of the distress caused to his family they now want to see those responsible brought to justice."
He said the cause of death would only be confirmed at the conclusion of a post mortem examination.
The detective said officers were keen to trace the movements of a blue Transit van, reg JLZ 1672, with distinctive silver wings at the front, during the days when Mr McCormick disappeared.
The charity Crimestoppers had been offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Mr McCormick's body.