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Saturday 21 October 2017

It's not too late to solve the mystery of missing Annie, says former garda diver

US student Annie McCarrick
US student Annie McCarrick

It's not too late to solve the mystery of missing US student Annie McCarrick. That's according to a former garda diver who searched for her in 1993.

Ms McCarrick was 26 when she went missing in Dublin after leaving her Sandymount home.

The last known sighting of the young woman was in the popular Glencullen pub Johnnie Fox’s on March 26. It’s believed she was in the company of an unidentified man who has never come forward.

The New Yorker’s remains have never been found, and it has since been claimed that the  chief suspect in her case was never questioned.

Tosh Lavery – one of the first recruits to the garda diving unit which was established in the 1970s – searched for her in the weeks following her disappearance. Now retired, he heads a group called Searching for the Missing and he still hopes answers will emerge in Annie’s case.

“I’d say we might [find out]. The thing about age is that somebody knows something and you could have someone in a nursing home, with a family or grandchildren, that might say something,” he said.

Mr Lavery said that the search for Ms McCarrick was extensive. “There was a large amount of searching, but there was very, very little information.

“Annie left her apartment, got on a bus, and went out toward Stepaside – and that’s all we were getting except maybe the odd sighting report,” he said.

Theory

Mr Lavery said that he never bought into the theory that convicted rapist Larry Murphy may have had something to do with the disappearance of the American woman.

“Because Larry Murphy and the six girls were missing in Leinster, they were all pointing the finger at Murphy … [but] Larry Murphy does not go on dates,” he said, making reference to the man with Annie when she was last seen.

Retired detective sergeant Alan Bailey claimed in his book ‘Missing, Presumed’ that a member of the Provisional IRA may have been responsible for her death, after telling her too much on a night out.

It is believed that the man left the country with the help of the IRA before he could be interviewed by gardaí.

The 23rd anniversary of Ms McCarrick’s disappearance will take place this month.

Unsolved missing person cases can “torture” families, said Mr Lavery.

Through his work, Mr Lavery has witnessed the devastation that an unsolved case can have on family members. “Missing people is a desperate cancer because you don’t know what happened,” he said.

“People will always wonder, no matter how long it goes on, ‘Are they being harmed?’.”

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