GARDAI investigating the death of Elaine O'Hara suspect that she may have been in a relationship in the period before she went missing.
They believe that she may have confided in someone about the relationship before she vanished on August 22 last year. Detectives are now interviewing friends of the 36-year-old childcare assistant in the hope of confirming their suspicions.
Data recovered from Ms O'Hara's mobile phone has proved crucial to the investigation into what detectives now suspect was murder.
The phone was recovered from a reservoir in Wicklow last Tuesday, just days after her skeletal remains had been found by a dog walker in the Dublin Mountains.
Gardai believe the phone was one of two used by Ms O'Hara. They think she may have used it for her private contacts and data retrieved from it has significantly advanced their inquiries.
They also believe she had the phone with her at the time of her death. Detectives are understood to have recovered records of her phone calls, along with locations in which the phone was last used.
They believe that her contacts with an online adult community in the days and weeks before she died could help provide vital information that could help point to her killer.
Gardai are to appeal to members of the 'S&M' community this week for assistance in their investigation.
Elaine O'Hara, who lived in Stepaside, Co Dublin, was reported missing 13 months ago by her family. Originally from Killiney, she was last seen leaving her apartment in Stepaside at 5.05pm on August 22 last year. Her car was found two days later at Shanganagh cemetery, where her mother is buried.
Gardai mounted a coastal search in south Dublin, more than 120 people were interviewed and 1,600 hours of CCTV footage were examined. Gardai also discovered that she visited adult websites.
The Sunday Independent has learnt that gardai questioned two men with whom she had contact online but they were later able to eliminate them from their investigations, according to sources. Both had provable alibis.
The CCTV footage and witness evidence gave good indications of her movements before her death but the period after she left her car is a blank, according to sources.
Ms O'Hara's remains lay above ground in undergrowth for more than a year and the body was badly decomposed.
Last week gardai continued to search land at Killakee to ensure all of Ms O'Hara's remains are recovered.