Please help us find Karen Scott say locals in hunt for missing pal
Woman with special needs has been missing for five days
An entire community has rallied to help search for missing woman Karen Scott, who has Down Syndrome.
Karen’s friendly nature and enthusiasm for meeting people ensured she was one of the best-known residents of the Barnamore area of Finglas.
The Den Youth Centre on Saint Helena’s Road has a large room dedicated to the search, where a co-ordinating team of local people carefully file each possible sighting, dispatch volunteers, follow up on information and keep gardai informed.
“Teams of volunteers have been travelling into the city centre late at night to search the streets,” said search co-ordinator Robert Burke (35), a next-door neighbour of the Scott family.
Karen’s disappearance on Friday has spurred neighbours, friends and acquaintances to join the search teams determined to find her.
During a visit by the Herald to The Den, Robert was getting ready to travel to Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre to follow up on a claim that Karen had been seen there.
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“The report said the woman who was seen had flowery trousers,” said Robert, who liaises with the gardai on behalf of the volunteers.
Many of those involved in the search grew up with 44-year-old Karen, who has lived with her mother Kathleen and brother Eddie all her life.
Beverley Gannon, a base manager for the volunteers, said the careful recording of every possible sighting and the organisation of search teams owes a lot to experience – valuable lessons were learned from searches carried out for a missing woman and a missing man in recent years.
Neat piles of incident sheets and team allocation records are placed beside maps of urban areas.
“We had 72 volunteers signing in yesterday to take part in searches. We’re encouraging people to sign up instead of doing their own thing. That way, we can avoid overlapping our efforts,” said Beverley.
“All the volunteers wear high-visibility vests with photos of Karen attached to them.”
Another possible sighting only minutes before the arrival of the Herald caused hopes to soar.
“Some volunteers going into town to put up posters at Luas stops were on a bus on Whitworth Road when they thought they saw Karen going into a house,” said volunteer Joe Lynch.
“They got off the bus and called the guards. We’re waiting for the guards to check it out.”
Half-an-hour later, word arrives that gardai entered the house and confirmed the woman was not Karen.
“I’ve known Karen all my life. She’s very sociable. She loves ballad music and loves dogs and would talk to anyone,” said local resident Caroline Aaron.
Tom Carey (67) said: “I’ve known her for years and years. Karen has been like a daughter to me.
“I would be bringing my own grandson to the zoo or the cinema and Karen would ask to come along. I’d bring her along and she would be great company. She could be quite humorous.
“She also came on outings to Dun Laoghaire and Wexford.
“I perform at cabarets in Dublin, and Karen would often travel to the Red Cow Inn to see me sing. Everyone is worried. My grandson is devastated.”
Several local people said Karen would sometimes cause concern when she would not be seen for hours, but for her to be gone overnight was “completely against the grain.”
“She is so well-known in Finglas. Everyone knows her,” said a volunteer.
Local businesses have been helping out by supplying food and refreshments for volunteers. The teams are also grateful to Crosscare and the centre’s management for the use of the room.
Karen’s mother, Kathleen, made a television appeal for help, speaking movingly about how her family were sick with worry.
“Karen is very independent and knows her bus routes and everything and she has gone out before on her own, but she has always come back that night. This time it’s different,” said Kathleen.
“We’re very concerned for her. There have been no sightings since Friday.
“I had been up in Finglas village with her doing some shopping earlier, and when we got home she said she was going upstairs for a lie down.
“I dozed off on the couch myself for a while and when I woke up she was gone.”