'Credible' information raises hope of solving 17-year-old mystery
High-profile dig under way as gardaí work towards 'bringing Trevor home', writes Tom Brady
The ordeal endured by the Deely family since December 2000 continues as the Garda investigation into the mysterious death of their son and brother takes yet another twist.
Their pain and grief at losing 22-year-old Mr Deely is compounded by not knowing what happened to him or where his remains lie.
As his sister Michelle explained earlier this year: "The past 16 years have been a relentless nightmare.
"We never gave up on Trevor. We knew he could not have disappeared into thin air and we owed it to Trevor to keep trying.
"If the position was reversed, Trevor would never have given up on us."
Since his disappearance, the family have campaigned to keep the case alive in the media in the hope that somebody who knows the truth about his death will step forward and pass on a vital piece of information to gardaí that could help to finally bring some closure to the family.
Despite the odds, in a media world where stories of this nature remain in the headlines for little more than a day, the Deelys have managed to consistently capture the attention of the public with their pleas for help.
Alongside the disappearance of Dublin schoolboy Philip Cairns in Rathfarnham, and the unsolved murder of Raonaid Murray in Dún Laoghaire, it is a crime story that regularly re-emerges.
The fresh appeals have yielded some new information for gardaí to pursue but none leading so far to a breakthrough.
As Michelle says: "We are grateful to the public for all the information we have received to date but there are still some glaring gaps."
Mr Deely went missing in the early hours of December 8, 2000, as he was making his way home from a Christmas party with work colleagues from Bank of Ireland Asset Management.
Footage taken from CCTV cameras, sited at the side and rear of the bank at Wilton Terrace, and at Haddington Road, was enhanced in the past nine months and captured a man standing by a pillar, possibly sheltering from the heavy rain, before Mr Deely entered the bank at 3.35am to collect an umbrella from a colleague working on the late shift.
- Read more: 'Tentative' search as gardai probe whether Trevor Deely was murdered and buried in three-acre woodland site
There had been a taxi strike that night and many young people would have been walking home after attending parties or socialising in local pubs or nightclubs.
Mr Deely's family in Naas, Co Kildare, had not been unduly concerned when they did not hear from him over the weekend but became worried when he did not turn up for work.
Initial garda enquiries focused along the nearby stretch of the Grand Canal, close to the last confirmed sightings, as officers tried to establish whether he might have slipped and fallen, or have been pushed into the water, with his body eventually swept out to sea.
The enhanced camera footage led to a new appeal in April.
This time, the emphasis was on the man at the pillar, who spoke briefly to Mr Deely, with further images showing what appeared to be the same person walking behind Mr Deely more than half an hour later at Haddington Road.
That man has never been identified and whether or not he played any role in Mr Deely's disappearance has been added to the long list of theories and guesses that have been examined by successive garda investigation teams.
Gardaí have also been looking at the possibility that Mr Deely could have encountered a thug prowling the streets and ended up the victim of a fatal assault.
The latest development is not linked to that appeal but stems from what was described by one of the lead garda investigators as "credible information".
It tallies with some details that had been gathered previously by gardaí but following a careful assessment in recent weeks prompted officers to carry out a search of a three-acre site at Chapelizod.
However, information on where the remains might be located is not precise and gardaí do not expect to make a major find in the next couple of days.
Officers say the search, which is spearheaded by civilian forensic experts as well as members of the Garda technical bureau and divisional search teams, could take at least two weeks, and possibly longer, to complete and, even then, they are not confident they will be able to bring some peace to the tortured minds of the Deely family.
But it is a lead that will be pursued fully by gardaí, as other tips have been in the past, as officers work towards a straightforward outcome, that was outlined simply by Mr Deely's father Michael: "All we want is to bring Trevor home".