Still waiting to find her brother after 38 years

Image caption,
Kevin McKee was described by his sister as a "soft hearted gentleman".

Kevin McKee from west Belfast 'disappeared' on 2 October 1972.

He is one of 16 people officially listed as disappeared during the Troubles.

Although the Commission for the Location of Victims has been working to find them for more than ten years - nearly half of them are still missing.

It is 38 years since Philomena McKee last saw her brother, Kevin.

"I was very young when Kevin went missing and my mummy, what I remember of, she's been in and out of a mental hospital since then," she said.

"When they took Kevin away, they should have taken my mother away too because we were left with nobody."

She described her brother as a "soft hearted gentleman".

"To me, he would have been just a very very friendly person in his ways.

"My mother lived in hope that he'd walk through the door one day.

"We still didn't know what had happened until the whole peace process. When it came out clearly, it just wrecked everybody's life again."

Ms McKee said some information has been given to the group tasked with trying to locate the remains of the disappeared.

"We were phoned when each bit of information came in," she said.

'Past reborn all over again'

"Kevin was one of the named ones that was shot by the IRA because he was a tout.

"This is what we've been told. Since then it's just been a nightmare because it's the past reborn all over again."

"I'm an adult with kids now. I protect my own kids because of this and the digging, it's just brought a lot of depression, a lot of horrible feelings to the family."

On Tuesday, the commission began a search at Waterfoot beach in County Antrim for Peter Wilson, another of the disappeared.

The 21-year-old, who had learning difficulties as a child, disappeared from his home in west Belfast in 1973.

Earlier this month, a body was recovered in County Monaghan.

It is believed to be that of Gerry Evans who disappeared on his way home to Crossmaglen in March 1979.

Ms McKee said that each time they hear that a body has been found, it "gives you that more bit of hope".

"You're feeling what the families are feeling," she said.

"At one stage we thought we were on our own but when we met all the families, it has been when there's a body found.

"It's a strange feeling, you're crying because you're happy but you're also crying because you're sad."

Ms McKee said Kevin's father is dead and his mother is unwell.

"She thinks he's actually buried.

"She was at the one of the other disappeared funerals, so she thinks that was Kevin."

The past 38 years have not been easy for the family.

"At one stage I did feel bitter but thankfully the bitterness has left me," Ms McKee said.

"I just hope and pray that those ones out there who were responsible for this keep thinking of any information at all to come forward, not matter how little it is."