Monday 26 September 2016

Family in desperate plea for 'vanished' young mum amid murder fears

Published 27/10/2015 | 02:30

Lena Clarke (77) and Geraldine Olliffe - grandmother and aunt of - Elizabeth Clarke, from Portrane, Co Dublin, who was reported missing in November 2013
Lena Clarke (77) and Geraldine Olliffe - grandmother and aunt of - Elizabeth Clarke, from Portrane, Co Dublin, who was reported missing in November 2013
Pictures of Elizabeth Clarke who was last seen in Navan November 2013. Pic: Justin Farrelly.
Pictures of Elizabeth Clarke who was last seen in Navan November 2013
L-r Geraldine Olliffe (Auntie) and Lena Clarke (Nanny who brought up Elizabeth) with a missing persons leaflet and Picture of Elizabeth Clarke who was last seen in Navan November 2013
L-r Geraldine Olliffe (Auntie) and Lena Clarke (Nanny who brought up Elizabeth) with a missing persons leaflet and Picture of Elizabeth Clarke who was last seen in Navan November 2013
Elizabeth Clarke, from Portrane, Co Dublin, who was reported missing in November 2013.
Elizabeth Clarke, from Portrane, Co Dublin, who was reported missing in November 2013.

The family of a missing young mother who vanished without a trace over two years ago have made a desperate appeal for information amid fears she may have been murdered.

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Elizabeth Clarke (25) was last seen in Navan, Co Meath, in November 2013.

But despite two years of endless searching there has been no clues as to the 25-year-old's whereabouts.

"We think she has been murdered," cried her grandmother Lena Clarke.

"We know Elizabeth, she wouldn't go anywhere without saying anything to us. She wouldn't leave her two young children, she lived for them.

"They are only two and five now. She wouldn't miss them growing up."

Her heartbroken aunt, Geraldine Olliffe, said there is no trace of her niece.

"There is nothing of Elizabeth," she said. "She has completely disappeared leaving her two young kids, and there has been no sightings, no evidence of where she went.

"She hasn't appeared on CCTV, there have been no proper sighting. There has been nothing. Just nothing.

Vanish

"People don't just vanish into thin air without a trace, and that is what has happened to our Elizabeth," she said.

"We know that she wouldn't leave her little ones either, she lived for them, and everything she did was for them. She wouldn't walk out on them," she added.

The Clarke household is everything that epitomises a traditional Irish home.

Nestled just metres from the picturesque Tower Beach in Portrane north county Dublin it's hard to imagine a nicer place to raise a family.

Outside there is no hum of traffic, sirens or car horns blowing. All that can be heard is the ocean waves lapping on the shore and the chuckling of children as they kick through Autumn's fallen leaves.

Inside, it is a happy place, where pictures of family weddings and holidays adorn the walls. In the sitting room, four generations of Clarke's laugh, joke and reminisce over platters of homemade ham sandwiches and jam swiss roll.

Sunken into the corner of an oversized velour couch is the family matriarch, Elizabeth's 77-year-old grandmother.

She leads the laughter, but it's not long before she brings her kin to point and reminds them why they had all gathered there on an autumn afternoon.

It was to remind them that their loving family and their seemingly perfect home was fractured. It was missing someone. Elizabeth.

"She was always smiling and was so bubbly. Everybody loved her, that made me so proud," said Mrs Clarke, as her smile turned to tears.

"It made me realise that I had raised her well."

Ms Olliffe said the family are not sure exactly when Elizabeth vanished.

"Nobody can give us an exact date as to when they last seen her. All we know is that it was sometime in November 2013," she said.

"Nobody from this family has seen her since late 2012. We got really worried when she didn't show up to her grandad's funeral. They were very close," she added.

"That's when we knew that there was definitely something wrong and reported her missing.

"She was a very vulnerable girl and was easily led, but we know if she was in trouble she would come to us."

Geraldine said Elizabeth's disappearance has left a "massive hole" in the family.

"We are now searching for her body so we can lay her to rest with her granddad. We just want to bring her home. It has left such a massive hole in the family. We are heartbroken," she added.

Elizabeth's uncle, Anthony Clarke, pleaded for anyone with "any shred of information" to come forward.

"There has to be someone out there who knows something. People do not vanish," he said as all eyes diverted to him.

"We are pleading with anyone who may have seen her, please come forward.

Insignificant

"It doesn't matter how insignificant you think it is, please come forward. There are so many young women in Ireland who have been missing for so long, Annie McCarrick, JoJo Dollard, Ciara Breen, we don't want Elizabeth to be added to that list."

When last seen Elizabeth was 5ft 3ins in height, approximately seven stone in weight, and of a slim build with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a yellow hooded top and blue jeans.

However, Elizabeth's family said she was around 18 stone when they last saw her.

Anyone who has seen Elizabeth or who can assist in locating her is asked to contact Navan Garda Station on 046 9036100, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

Watch the family's appeal on www.Independent.ie

Irish Independent

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