Ballymena: Chloe Mitchell's family 'lost without her'

The family of a young woman who was murdered in Ballymena say their struggle to cope with her loss is "soul destroying".

Chloe Mitchell's body was found following a huge search operation after she was reported missing in the County Antrim town in the summer.

Her brother, Philip, said the family, especially her parents, have endured constant suffering since Chloe's death.

Her sister Nadine said she feels "empty and alone" without Chloe.

Nadine added: "She wasn't just my wee sister, she was my best friend, me and her were genuine best friends. So, I've lost a sister and a best friend."

Philip Mitchell, Nadine Mitchell and Linda McDowell
Chloe's brother, Philip (left) says the family, especially her parents, have endured constant suffering since her death

"We take one step at a time as a family and work together, and even at that we still can't get over it, it's just like yesterday," Phillip said.

He added: "The hardest part for us now is watching our mother and father go through this. They're just lost without her".

"They're just trying to take it day by day," he said.

'Forever 21'

Chloe and Zoe Horner with Philip Mitchell at a remembrance event
Family friends Chloe and Zoe Horner joined Chloe Mitchell's family, including her brother Philip, at the remembrance event

Chloe's family held a remembrance event on Tuesday to mark her birthday.

They were joined by relatives and friends in King George's Park where balloons were released in her memory.

Among those at the event were the family of Natalie McNally.

Ms McNally, who was 32, was 15 weeks pregnant when she was killed in December 2022.

Stephen McCullagh has pleaded not guilty to her murder.

The McNally family said they had travelled from their home in Lurgan to offer support to the Mitchell family.

Flower planter box dedicated to Chloe Mitchell with 'Forever 21' written on it
Philip Mitchell says their family will always remember his "wee sister" as "forever 21"

Ms Mitchell's brother said his family would always remember his "wee sister" as "forever 21".

Speaking before Tuesday's event, Mr Mitchell said it would allow their family to share fond memories of how Chloe always enjoyed her birthday celebrations.

"She'd have been up excited, opening her cards, and her new trainers and stuff like that and I just think it's what she deserves, it's the least we could do for her today," he said.

The Mitchell family has expressed thanks to their wider family circle and the local community, particularly around the Harryville area, for the support they have received since the tragedy.

Linda McDowell, one of Chloe's aunts, said the community was helping the family through the ordeal.

She added: "The whole family is absolutely devastated, it's something they'll never get over.

"It's not easy for them, especially today her birthday".

Brandon John Rainey, 26, of James Street, Ballymena, has been charged with Chloe Mitchell's murder.