Monday 18 June 2018

‘I think I’ve seen something terrible’ – what eyewitness said after spotting suspected abduction

The road on the outskirts of Enniskerry where the woman was abducted. Photo: Tony Gavin
The road on the outskirts of Enniskerry where the woman was abducted. Photo: Tony Gavin

Laura Lynott

In the wake of the disappearance of student Jastine Valdez, an eyewitness ran into a pub and told how she had seen a male driver pull up and drag a young woman into his car.

The “shaken” woman was visibly very upset as she told those sitting in a bar in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, on Saturday evening how she’d witnessed the suspected abduction.

“I think I’ve seen something terrible,” the woman reportedly told the busy bar.

“A man stopped his car in front of me and punched a woman. He dragged her into his boot.” 

A young man from the village relayed what he said the woman told the bar, a short time after the incident at 6.15pm.

“She was really shaken, very upset,” the man said, as he described the behaviour of the woman he believes was an eyewitness to the abduction of Jastine.

A garda on duty at Lovers Leap Lane, just outside Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, during the search for missing woman Jastine Valdez. Photo: Tony Gavin
A garda on duty at Lovers Leap Lane, just outside Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, during the search for missing woman Jastine Valdez. Photo: Tony Gavin

The 24-year-old was reported missing by her Filipino parents on Saturday evening and investigators found her phone near the scene yesterday.

A foreign woman yesterday spoke to her friend – the eyewitness – on her phone in the busy village yesterday afternoon, and appeared to be in an anxious state.

The woman said her friend had been driving along the R760 road, south of Enniskerry, when the car in front “suddenly stopped” and a man “forced a woman who was walking along into his car”. The friend of the eyewitness would give no further detail, but her husband said he hoped the woman would be found soon.

Yesterday, in the busy tourist village, locals spoke of their fear over the abduction.

Superintendent Paul Hogan gives a press conference on the case outside Bray garda station. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Superintendent Paul Hogan gives a press conference on the case outside Bray garda station. Photo: Doug O'Connor

“It could have been anyone who took her,” one local man said. “We have so many tourists and strangers driving though here.

“But it’s the fact someone came through here and took a young woman like that. That’s just terrifying for everyone here.”

Another local man, David Owens, told Independent.ie he saw Ms Valdez almost every day.

The last time he spotted her was during the week.

“A JCB driver used to pick her up every morning from her home up the road and give her a lift into the village,” he said.

“She’d get a bus from here then off to wherever she was going and then I’d see her other days with her mother and father.

“She only lived out the road. I think her parents work up there.

“My partner showed me on the phone she was missing and I said ‘I know her’,” he added.

“It’s unbelievable. The family have only lived her a couple of years. She speaks English but the family aren’t from here.

“I know this place well and know everyone in it. I work on the roads here and I saw her regularly.

“You’d notice her because she was very small and dainty, a very shy girl.

“I’d see her in a uniform too. I think she worked in a restaurant in Bray. 

“And though she was shy, her parents would always say hello to you.

“I really hope she’s found because she is a nice, young girl and everyone is worried for her.”

The young student was not personally known by most people in the village, despite walking through it every day.

“She doesn’t socialise here, she doesn’t go out into the pubs, she just lives out the road with her parents and lives a quiet life,” one local worker said.

“I’m telling my staff to think about safety and to call taxis,” a cafe worker added.

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