Family 'shocked' as missing woman (29) case upgraded to murder
Gardai investigating the disappearance of a 29-year-old Lithuanian woman have officially upgraded the case to one of murder.
Giedre Raguckaite was last seen alive at a house in Laytown, Co Meath, on the night of May 29.
She was reportedly unconscious and carried into the house in the company of two Lithuanian men who placed her in an ice bath.
It is understood that some hours later the men left the property with Giedre in a stolen Toyota Landcruiser and no one has seen her since.
A senior source told the Herald last night that gardai now believe Giedre, who had been living in Dundalk, Co Louth, died a violent death but do not know where her body is.
It has emerged that her relatives were informed that the investigation had been upgraded to murder on Wednesday.
Last night, Gedvile Hibner, a childhood friend of Giedre, said her killers were "vile creatures" who should be in custody and "pushed to speak".
Ms Hibner said she had been contacted by Giedre's family who told her the case had been upgraded. She said her reaction to the development was: "Finally."
"I think she was drugged. She was thin, she needed so much," Ms Hibner said. "I have no idea where they got rid of her body, but they left in the middle of the night with her.
"The family are shocked and still hoping, but they also want her body back. We just want to know what happened."
Ms Hibner added that she believes the suspects in the case may have killed before.
Giedre had previously lived in England for a number of years but was deported to Lithuania before moving to Dundalk, Co Louth, on March 3 last.
The two men who were allegedly with her at the house in Laytown have been identified and questioned by detectives.
Both are Lithuanian nationals who were known to Giedre. One is suspected of involvement in serious organised crime and is currently serving a short jail term for separate matters.
The detailed investigation into the suspected murder has been carried out by officers from Louth and Meath who have been working with police in Lithuania and the UK.
There have been no arrests in the case so far.
Gardai first appealed for information from the public in what was then a missing person's case in August.
"Giedre is a Lithuanian national and was last seen on Hoey's Lane, Dundalk on the May 26, 2018 at approximately 6pm. She is described at 5ft 5in in height, slight build, blonde hair with green eyes," a garda spokesman said in a statement on August 23.
However, after further investigations, it has emerged that she was last seen in Laytown three days later on May 29.
In August, the Herald revealed that a bag which was handed into Dundalk Garda Station by a female was owned by Giedre.
However, officers are satisfied it had gone missing before she did and that there is "nothing sinister" in relation to that aspect of the case.
It's understood Giedre gave her passport to her landlord as a deposit for the room she was renting before disappearing.
As her father lives in Lithuania, and her sisters live in Italy and Cyprus, the young woman has no family in Ireland.
Last month, Giedre's close friend, Ms Hibner, told the Sunday World newspaper that while living in Ireland, the missing woman had been dependent on someone else financially.
"When she moved to Ireland, she tried to get work in a clothing business," Ms Hibner was quoted as saying.
"But she was certainly getting financial help from someone as she wasn't living on fresh air for two months."
Giedre's friend also alleged: "She was clearly drugged and wasn't able to act normally or help herself.
"Whatever happened to her has to be discovered.
"My friend is a young woman with her whole life ahead of her, and now she is gone."