Annie McCarrick and her family deserve justice

Annie McCarrick


Over the years there have been numerous theories about what happened to Annie McCarrick. None have brought any solace to her family. Three decades on, her mother, Nancy, is still waiting for answers, never having the opportunity to grieve the loss properly. Her devoted father, John, died without ever finding out what happened to his only child. The vibrant young American woman, who had fallen in love with Ireland, disappeared without a trace on a day trip to Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, 30 years ago tomorrow.

Based on the entirety of the knowledge available to gardaí, the missing person’s case has now finally been upgraded to a murder investigation.

Annie McCarrick grew up on Long Island with a love and appreciation of the Irish culture. She particularly enjoyed traditional music and had an idyllic view of her ancestral homeland. After visiting the island on a school tour, she enrolled as a student in the National University of Ireland at Maynooth in 1988 and spent two years studying there. Having returned to the US to undertake a master’s at Stony Brook University, she returned to Ireland to complete her teacher training.

She arrived back in Ireland in January 1993 and initially stayed with the brother of her ex-boyfriend and his fiancée, who were good friends. She rented a room in a shared flat in the Sandymount area of Dublin. She found a job at a restaurant first, then switched to working in Café Java on Leeson Street. She was popular and had several friends in her adopted home. Her mother was due to visit at the end of March. But on March 26, 1993, Annie McCarrick disappeared, seemingly while heading on a hike in Wicklow, after a visit to the local bank and supermarket.

Her disappearance was at first treated as a missing person’s case, as there was no evidence of foul play. Over the following years, however, it began to be linked to the cases of other women who went missing in the east of the country, an area known as “the Vanishing Triangle”.

Even with the upgrade in the case, the challenges faced by gardaí are enormous. The original investigation followed over 100 lines of inquiry. As the retired Detective Garda Thomas Rock, who worked on the case, noted last year: “One of the major difficulties of solving a case like this is that you have no crime scene, you have no body, you have no material evidence. That definitely tells me that the person that carried out this crime was meticulous, and had thought the thing thoroughly through.”

Nonetheless, advances in technology and DNA ​analysis ​​​​​​mean any item of evidence could yield results. Suspects and information identified over the years will be examined again. Annie’s mother deserves to get her daughter’s body back and to bury her with dignity. And Annie deserves justice.