Thursday 22 August 2019

Family 'hopeful of progress' 21 years on from disappearance

Positive outlook: Parents Michael and Bernie Jacob are hopeful information about their missing daughter Deirdre can be found 21 years on. Photo: Mark Condren
Positive outlook: Parents Michael and Bernie Jacob are hopeful information about their missing daughter Deirdre can be found 21 years on. Photo: Mark Condren
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The family of a trainee teacher who went missing 21 years ago are hopeful progress can be made in the Garda investigation.

Deirdre Jacob was 18 when she was last seen crossing the road towards the entrance to her home at Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, at around 3pm on July 28, 1998.

Her father Michael said gardaí have been able to "inch the case further, little by little" after recent appeals.

Speaking to Newstalk's Susan Keogh yesterday on the 21st anniversary of Deirdre's disappearance, Mr Jacob said: "[Gardaí] are in the final stages of that case... that review will probably come to conclusion within the next couple of months.

"But what very often happens - and hopefully what will happen as a result of our appeals this weekend... is that we might get some more very, very valuable calls.

"That will give the detectives on the review case the go-ahead to add those to the great mix of information and hopefully progress the case."

Mr Jacob said the family were always "very hopeful" that they would find out what happened 21 years ago.

"We have always been very, very positive, because you just have to be - if you don't hold a positive outlook through it, the world collapses around you," he said.

"[Since July 1998] it has never been the same, nor never will it be the same. But nevertheless we are striving to get that piece of information, and we're appealing to the public out there."

Detectives reclassified the case to a murder investigation in August of last year, with video footage discovered following her disappearance playing a crucial role in the investigation.

CCTV footage from the day of Deirdre's disappearance has been digitalised, resulting in new witnesses being identified from the clearer video.

Deirdre had visited her grandmother before she disappeared.

Last year, the Irish Independent reported that convicted rapist Larry Murphy is the prime suspect in the case.

Senior officers said at the time they were looking at a number of "persons of interest" and new lines of inquiry have been opened up.

"Larry Murphy is believed to be based in the UK at the moment - if he was to set foot in Ireland, he would be arrested on sight in relation to this investigation," a senior source said last year.

"However, there is nowhere near enough evidence yet to issue a European Arrest Warrant for his extradition and a team of eight gardaí are now working full-time on this case."

Deirdre was described as being 5ft 3in tall, of slim build, with grey/green eyes and dark, chin-length hair.

At the time of her disappearance she was wearing a navy V-neck T-shirt with white trim on the collar and sleeves, navy or black straight jeans and blue Nike runners.

She was carrying a distinctive black satchel-type bag with long shoulder straps and the word "CAT" in large yellow capital letters printed on the front.

This bag has never been located and gardaí want to hear from anyone who has ever found or noticed a similar bag.

Irish Independent

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