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Saturday 24 March 2018

Long-lost sister of bridge-jump victim tells of her devastation

Donna Deeney

The sister of the Dublin woman who jumped off a bridge in Derry has spoken of how they had planned to meet up before she died tragically.

Alexandra O'Brien and her sister Marcella were split up as babies but had recently found each other and planned to meet up. Now that dream will never come true after the body of Alexandra was pulled from the River Foyle last week.

Marcella (23), who did not want to reveal her surname, was adopted when she was very young and grew up in Belfast.

The sisters established contact with each other within the last two years and had planned their first meeting.

Marcella said that Alexandra's death had made her more determined than ever to forge a relationship with other members of her natural family before it is too late.

After Alexandra (21) took her own life, heartbroken Marcella rushed to Derry in a desperate bid to be close to the sister she never met. She left a farewell letter for Alexandra near the spot where her sister died in the knowledge it would never be read by her.

"Our family was split up when we were very young and I grew up with no contact with Alyx but I spent my life for as long as I can remember trying to locate them," Marcella said.

"Finally two years ago I did find Alyx and we started exchanging letters and calls and photos and we even talked about meeting up.

"We had so much in common, we look alike and we have the same nature. We thought we had plenty of time, we thought we had our whole lives ahead of us but we were wrong."

Alexandra's body was recovered from the River Foyle by volunteers from Foyle Search and Rescue last Thursday.


They are still searching for her friend, Kieran McKeon (18), who had travelled from Dublin with her.

The news of her sister's death led Marcella to the city where Alexandra spent her final hours.

Marcella continued: "When I heard about Alyx, I was so devastated and I sat up the whole night and wrote one last letter to her.

"I left Belfast and headed to Derry because I just needed so much to walk where my sister walked and stand where she stood. It was the only way left to me that I could feel close to her."

Marcella also went to the PSNI in Derry to speak to the investigating officer.

"That man will never know how much he has helped me and I will never forget him for his kindness," she said.

Irish Independent

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