Gardai: Elaine was ‘a trusted and popular person’
GARDAI have released fresh pictures as they appeal for people who might have seen tragic Elaine O’Hara in the days following her disappearance to come forward.
The appeal comes following the discovery of skeletal remains of Dublin woman Ms O’Hara (36) in a secluded area of the Dublin mountains last Friday.
Ms O’Hara was last seen alive at the family home in Killiney on the evening of August 22 last year.
In urging potential witnesses to come forward, Superintendent Dave Taylor said he wanted to “paint a picture” of Elaine.
He said: “Elaine was a childcare assistant, a very trusted person and very respected.
“She also worked part-time during the summer months in a newsagents in Blackrock Shopping Centre and was a very, very popular employee with her colleagues.
“On the weekend that Elaine went missing she had volunteered to work at the Tall Ships festival and was looking forward to working at that.”
Supt Taylor said that Ms O’Hara’s family are “quite upset” but added: “They have got Elaine back, which is of great comfort to them.”
Ms O’Hara left her apartment at Belarmine Plaza in Stepaside at about 5:05pm on the evening of August 22, 2012.
She was later spotted on a railway bridge near Shanganagh cemetery where her mother is buried.
Her car was found there two days later, with no sign of Ms O’Hara for the last 13 months.
Then last week, a key fob belonging to her was found in the Vartry Resevoir near Roundwood, Co Wicklow.
Separately on Friday, partial skeletal remains, including jaw bone and teeth and leg bones, were found in a forest on Killakee mountain on the Dublin-Wicklow border.
DNA analysis over the weekend confirmed that the remains belonged to Ms O’Hara.
Supt Taylor said Gardai are continuing to search at that site this evening.
He said investigating officers are interested in speaking to anyone that saw Elaine or her car in the days following her disappearance.
He said: “We’re particularly appealing to any person or person who may have spoken to, met or engaged with Elaine between August 22 and August 24.
“We’re also appealing to any person who may have seen Elaine’s turquoise colour Fiat Punto 05-D, during those dates. You might have seen this car being driven around, did you see Elaine in the car? Did you see the car at the Shanganagh cemetery?”
It is understood her phone records and computer history have been checked to establish if she made arrangements to meet someone that night.
On the examination of her computer, Supt Taylor said: “Well like any investigation her computer and any other mobile devices would be important.”
Asked about reports that she had been involved in online dating he said: “We’re following a number of lines of inquiry.
“We don’t want to go down any particular line.”
Earlier today Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan warned internet users to be careful about meeting people on the web.
He offered the advice this afternoon as he was commenting on the major garda investigation into Ms O’Hara’s murder.
He said that it is too early to speculate on suggestions that she might have made contact with her killer on the internet and was concerned that some of the speculation might not be helpful to their inquiries.
But he said that he, and any police officer, would advise users to be careful when communicating with others on the internet.
“The internet is a marvellous creation but I would tell people to know who you are dealing with and know the circumstances surrounding your business on the net.
“They should exercise reasonable caution and care, as in any other facet of life”, Mr Callinan added.
By Cormac McQuinn