The mother of missing Dublin teenager Amy Fitzpatrick has said the Josef Fritzl case re-inforced her fear that her daughter could be a prisoner in someone's home close to where she disappeared on New Year's Day in Spain three years ago.
Amy was just 15 when she vanished while walking home from a friend's house near Mijas on the Costa del Sol at 10pm on January 1, 2008.
Today her mother Audrey told the Herald she believes Amy, who would now be 18, is still alive, and is either "very nearby or 1,000 miles away".
"It could be a situation like the Josef Fritzl case where he held his daughter hidden in his house for years, or else Amy is 1,000 miles away in a country in Europe with no border controls," said Audrey.
"She could be down the street for all we know. It has happened in other places."
Austrian Fritzl was discovered in 2008 to be keeping his daughter and the children she had by him in a separate compound of their suburban house in Amstetten.
His crimes emerged when his daughter Elisabeth Fritzl (42) told police that she had been held captive for 24 years in a concealed corridor part of the basement area of the family home, and that Fritzl had physically assaulted, sexually abused, and raped her numerous times during her imprisonment, resulting in the births of seven children and one miscarriage.
When the eldest daughter, Kerstin, became seriously ill, Josef acceded to Elisabeth's pleas to take her to a hospital, triggering a series of events that eventually led to discovery.
"Amy could also be living with someone who has persuaded her not to contact anyone, or who has convinced her that we are angry at her, but all we want is for her to contact us and let us know she is okay," pleaded Audrey.
"We can only hope that with a more adult mind, she will be 19 in February, she would make that call if she could," she added.
Audrey and her partner David Mahon, today moved home to a new address nearby because of the strain of living in the house Amy had lived in.
"I have been sleeping in Amy's room all the time, and it is time to move on," said Audrey.
"I will put Amy's things in storage, and we are not moving far. We are very well known here and if Amy makes any contact people will know where to find us. We have said before we will not leave Spain, and that is still the case."
Amy had taken a short-cut up a dirt lane after babysitting near her home, and vanished without her passport or money.
She was originally from Donaghmede but moved to Spain in 2004 with her mother.
Her brother Dean has returned to Ireland to live with their father, Christopher Fitzpatrick, and they are in monthly contact.
"We all talk to each other on the first of every month," said Audrey.
Audrey told the Herald that she still has regular meetings with Spanish authorities and investigators, but that no new evidence or leads have come to light.