A truck driver has told gardaí he saw a woman running "naked and screaming” through the Kildare village of Moone on the night of Jo Jo Dullard's disappearance.
The sighting was 9km from Usk Little, the site of this week's dig for the remains of fellow missing woman Deirdre Jacob.
Sources have confirmed the driver made a statement to the Garda Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) at Naas garda station in November last year and the sighting was accepted as credible by investigators.
The driver visited Moone in the hours prior to giving the statement to refamiliarise himself with the geography of the Co Kildare village before driving to Naas garda station.
A woman who spoke to him said he approached her looking for the area of the Jo Jo Dullard memorial.
"It had been removed at the time because they were doing up the road," she said. "He didn't know exactly where it was, so he asked me. I walked
down and I showed him and I asked him: 'Did you know her or something? Were you a relative?'
"And he said: 'No. Twenty-five years ago, I was passing through here at 11 o'clock at night with the boss in a truck'.”
He told her: "I was only a chap at the time and there was a woman there running naked in the street, screaming."
He said they pulled up and the boss got out and he ran after her. "But the more he went after her the more she ran."
The driver told the woman that after his boss failed to help the screaming woman, he phoned gardaí from a phone box in Moone.
"He said they told him: 'Don't worry, it'll be grand, we'll send a car out'," the woman said. "And he said about three days later Jo Jo Dullard was
missing, so they went to give a statement.
"But the gardaí said it was a different woman altogether because Jo Jo Dullard had been seen in Castledermot afterwards.
"He said in all of the years this was the first day he'd been asked to give a statement since that time. He was going to Naas that day to give gardaí a statement.
"He was very honest and very genuine.
"The investigation into Jo Jo's death had been reopened at the time and he came to Moone one last time to refamiliarise himself with the town before going up to give his statement.
"If you Google it now, the conclusion of the most recent investigation was that Jo Jo died violently here in Moone. And that has completely changed everything they said prior to that.
"They had said she was seen in Castledermot after she was seen here."
A source this week confirmed that the Serious Crime Review Team had taken a statement from the man at Naas garda station.
"In June of last year, Garda announced the probe into Jo Jo Dullard's disappearance had been upgraded to murder," the source said.
"As part of that investigation, gardaí have been going back over previous statements and going out to talk to people who had made statements at the time.
"It would appear that was what was happening last November. And this statement that a woman had been seen running naked through the village of Moone is now something that is being looked at again."
On Monday, a large search began at Usk Little, 9km and a nine-minute-drive from Moone, focusing on the disappearance of 18-year-old Deirdre Jacob.
Deirdre's disappearance, as she walked home in Newbridge on July 28, 1998, occurred less than three years after Jo Jo's disappearance in
Moone on November 9, 1995.
The search of the wooded area was prompted by the Serious Crime Review Team's analysis of the original investigation - which found someone had been seen dragging something into the area on the night of Deirdre's disappearance.
The senior source this week said that while the search was prompted by the probe into Deirdre's disappearance, investigators are not ruling out the
possibility that evidence might be found relating to the disappearance of other missing women.
"The search is not necessarily to do with any one piece of evidence," the source said.
"The area we are searching is very close to Moone, it's very close to Newbridge, and there are a number of people who have gone missing in
"The evidence leading to the search would point to the fact that it's more to do with the Deirdre Jacob investigation because of the timeline.
"But we are keeping an open mind that if we do find something, until we have it tested and checked out, we won't know what we've found.
"So, we have to be very cautious in saying it's only to do with one investigation."
Senior sources cautioned against raising expectations in relation to the search, saying: "It is important that we manage expectations."
Contacted this week, Deirdre Jacob's mother Bernadette said there was simply "nothing we can say" for the time being.