Gardai have begun a digging operation in a rural Co Kildare location for a 38-year-old man who has not been seen since July.
Detectives believe missing Wicklow man Barry Corcoran was brutally murdered by a west Dublin criminal and his body buried in a secret location.
Officers acting on new information began a search yesterday in the Rathangan area of Co Kildare.
It is understood the site that Clondalkin gardai are searching is five acres and that the dig may go on for some time.
“This is just the latest search for this man’s body,” a source told the Herald last night.
The chief suspect in the case is a violent criminal in his early 40s who was known to Mr Corcoran.
The suspected murder victim had previously stayed in the criminal’s home, and it is understood that Mr Corcoran was killed after the two men got into a dispute.
The suspect has a number of previous convictions for extremely violent offences and has served jail time.
He has links to a number of dangerous Dublin criminals.
It previously emerged that gardai investigating the suspected murder received sinister letters alleging Mr Corcoran was shot dead and buried in a shallow grave.
Gardai made an official appeal for information last August and revealed that Mr Corcoran went to the post office in Wicklow town on the day he was last seen alive before getting the bus to Dublin.
He spent some time in the north inner city, before boarding the Luas Red Line to the Kylemore Stop on the Naas Rd, arriving there at 2pm.
A friend met him there and he bought some items in a local shop at 2.30pm and again at 6.45pm.
He was meeting friends on Cremona Road in Ballyfermot and was last seen by them that night. It is not known what happened afterwards. Gardai said Mr Corcoran would not have known the area.
He is unemployed and is dependent on social welfare. He has not accessed his cash since and has no credit card.
In an interview with the Herald in July, his brother William said that he told friends and relatives that he would be home the following day. They raised the alarm when he didn’t show.
“I just feel it in my waters that something is wrong,” said William, who shares a house with Barry in the Ocean View Estate in Wicklow town.
Wiliam added that his missing brother had left his phone and passport at home.
“He doesn’t have any bank accounts we can check either; there’s no credit cards or anything. He dealt in cash and lived day-to-day on his dole.
“He needs the dole to live and he didn’t collect it on Monday. So that’s when I thought something was definitely up. That’s when the worry set in,” he said.
Gardai have conducted door-to-door inquiries and have examined local CCTV footage as part of the investigation which is being led by Supt Brendan Connolly.
“Gardai have carried out extensive investigations since Barry was reported missing,” Supt Connolly said in an appeal last year.
“As a result of these investigations we have significant concerns regarding his welfare and safety – I would urge anybody with information to contact us here in Ballyfermot Garda Station.
“We are very concerned for Barry. This is out of character for him.”