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'Bones, only bones' ... father haunted by sight of her body

THE father of Marioara Rostas said he will never forget the image of his daughter's body, bound in plastic and mummified when her remains were found in a shallow grave in the Dublin mountains.

The Roma teenager was begging with her younger brother when she was invited into the car with strange men on the promise of clothes and food in January 2008. Her family never saw her alive again.

The beautiful brunette was held captive for several days before being assaulted, shot four times and dumped in the mountains.

Daughter

Dumitru Rostas and his family came to Ireland with the hope of improving their lives, but now no longer consider Ireland to be a good place.

"It would have been if they hadn't taken my daughter but now I don't consider it (to be) anymore," he said.

"They took away my daughter from the traffic lights where she was begging without knowing her. They lied to her that they would buy her clothes and feed her. And he never brought her back."

Dumitru Rostas and his family returned to Romania after her disappearance, but when they received a call from gardai who found Marioara, there was a misunderstanding and they held out hope that she was alive.

"I came with the belief that she was still alive," he said.

The image of her remains, desperately alone in the Dublin mountains, continues to stay with him to this day.

"Only bones, only bones. Disastrous," Dumitru says.

"That picture will be with me always until the day I die," he adds.

He then had to make a devastating phone call to his family of 15 children to tell them that their sister had been found in the mountains.

"The children at home asked if I found her and I told them she was dead. I told them the police had found her in the mountains," he said.

"They all cried. There is a sadness, a pain deep down in our souls that we cannot get rid of. We will never forget."

The family agreed to an interview during the trial of Alan Wilson, a 35-year-old father of four, who was found not guilty at the Central Criminal Court on Thursday.

After the verdict was read out, Wilson showed no emotion and the family filed out of the courtroom in dignified silence.

The heartbroken father, Dimitru junior and Mariora's mother sat through the lengthy trial and gave key evidence. They now have no answers as to who killed their child.

Marioara senior says very little, but wells up regularly.

"She has problems and easily starts crying," Dumitri says. "You know how mothers are."

Her brother Dumitru was 13 years old when his sister disappeared and said he'll never return to Ireland again.

"It's difficult - it's tough -she was here with us," he said. "I always have this is my mind."

Mr Rostas said that it was vitally important that Marioara's remains were found. In Romany culture, it is believed that their soul does not enter heaven until after the burial.

Marioara was laid to rest alongside other relatives, including Dumitri's own mother, in their home town of Tileagd, Romania.

The horse trader sold the family's only pony to pay for his daughter's funeral and still owes €3,000 for the crypt.

The Rostas family were so full of hope when they settled in humble accommodation in Donabate over six years ago. Friends had reassured them that Ireland would be a good place to live.

struggled

"It wasn't really the best but we stayed there," Dimitru said. "We struggled."

This seemingly desperate way of life was a simple existance and one that was in fact much improved from their lot. It was to prove fatal.

Now the family are returning to Romania, to piece together their lives once again.

They take with them nothing but one simple image of their girl. The photograph of Mariora taken for her ID, shows her dark hair scraped back from her sallow face shows a slight smile and big eyes full of hope.

That poignant photograph is the only picture ever taken of Marioara.

hnews@herald.ie


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