Sister's internet mission to find suspect
PAM O'LOUGHLIN didn't know exactly why the gardai had exhumed the body of her sister, but was willing to take this distressing event as a positive sign.
And given her struggle to keep Emer's memory alive and the case prominent, that outlook is understandable.
"It does give us some hope -- it makes us feel that her case hasn't been entirely forgotten after all," she told the Irish Independent from her home in England last night.
"But I have no clue what new evidence they might get. I heard yesterday evening that they were doing it, but we'll just have to wait for an outcome.
"We certainly haven't heard of any developments in the case recently, but obviously we're a bit out of the loop."
For over five years, Pam has run an internet campaign through Bebo and Facebook sites in an attempt to track down one man that the gardai wish to talk to.
"Myself and my brother have decided to do our best to achieve via the internet what Interpol, the gardai and the Irish media have failed to do and that's track him down," she wrote on the site.
"There are hundreds of people on these lists, they know hundreds of other people. Maybe someone might spot him. It is a long shot, but it is the only shot we have."
Legally constrained by what she can publish about the suspect, she has focused on a distinctive tattoo on his throat to jog peoples' memories, and on a moving tribute to her sister to appeal to their consciences.
Emer had lived in Kinvara in Clare with her boyfriend, Shane Bowe, in a mobile home. The site was owned by Mr Bowe's family, and the couple were saving money on rent as Emer worked on a portfolio and prepared for a degree course at the prestigious NACD in Dublin.
"She had been saving hard and I was so looking forward to spending time with her," Ms O'Loughlin said.
"There isn't an hour in the day now that I don't think about her."
Gardai believe Emer's killer struck while she was alone in the mobile home. The caravan was deliberately set alight.
The main suspect has since disappeared.
"She's not a statistic. She was a vibrant, living human being. My mission is to keep her memory alive. I'll never let her fade away."
Yesterday may have been an important step towards closure.