Killer hid boy's body in ditch

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POLICE were last night hunting the person who abducted and killed an 11-year-old boy and then tried to hide his naked body minutes after searchers had found it in an isolated bogland wood.

Royal Ulster Constabulary officers and the father of Kieran Hegarty had just discovered his body and had left to get help, unaware that the murderer was still hiding in thick undergrowth in bogland less than half a mile from his home in Strabane, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

While they were gone, the killer emerged from behind bushes. He dragged the body about 40 yards away, tossed it into a ditch filled with water and then tried to conceal it.

The body was missing for 12 hours before it was discovered a second time.

Kieran, a pupil at St Mary's primary school, Strabane, was seized while delivering a message for his mother, Kathleen. He was last seen leaving his home on Tuesday night on the errand to a nearby shop.

A man walking his dog in woods on Wednesday night discovered clothing belonging to Kieran and alerted police who made the first search, with his father and a friend. They left the scene to go for help after the police officers' radio equipment failed to operate.

Last night, a man was helping detectives trying to trace the murderer.