Tragic life and death of an innocent teen
THE INNOCENT, childlike features of Marioara Rostas hid a tortured soul that was old beyond her years. Her pretty face and desperate circumstances made her ideal prey for the twisted men who cruelly abused, then murdered her.
While other girls her age were focused on boybands and discos, the teen was regularly seen begging in Dublin city centre's traffic with her young brother.
Like other Roma families, the Rostas family came to Ireland in search of a better life -- but many turned to begging as they had no other form of income.
Marioara (18) took a Ryanair flight from her home in December 2007 to join her family, who are originally from Timisoara, in Romania.
She lived with her family in squalid, damp conditions in a semi-derelict cottage in Donabate. Her days were spent begging and it's believed she had turned to prostitution to help support her family.
The young girl was in Ireland for less than three weeks when she was abducted, raped, tortured and murdered.
On that fateful Sunday afternoon in January 2008, Marioara had been begging with her little brother Dumitru on Lombard Street in the south inner city.
A silver Ford Mondeo slowed down beside the beautiful black-haired girl dressed in blue jeans, a three-quarter-length black coat and a pink scarf.
Her brother looked on as a dark-haired man rolled down the window and chatted with Marioara in broad daylight.
After a few moments, Marioara got into the car and Dumitru walked over to find out what was going on.
The driver of the car gave the young boy €10 and said something about "McDonald's", but Dumitru couldn't understand everything he said.
He assumed the motorist was taking his sister for something to eat at a nearby fast-food restaurant. Dumitru would never see his big sister again.
The Rostas family had one vital contact with their daughter on the day after she disappeared.
Marioara made a call to her brother back home in Romania -- none of her family in Ireland had mobile phones.
She told her brother that she believed she was driven around 100km away from where she lived and had been raped by men.
Illiterate and with barely any English, she desperately tried to spell out the street name where she was being held captive.
Three days after she vanished, her disappearance was reported to gardai on January 8, 2008.
Her father had struggled for a while to find someone in the Roma community who had enough English to report her missing.
Gardai described the conditions in the house where her family lived as "appalling."
The abandoned cottage on the railway line on the outskirts of Donabate was home to up to 20 people.
There were no toilet facilities, running water or electricity.
Doors and windows were broken and the rain leaked through holes in the crumbling slate roof.
It's believed that during her terrifying final days Marioara was taken to a house in Pimlico, in the Dublin 8 area of the city. There she was sexually assaulted over a number of days before being shot.
A tip-off led gardai on a trail to the house in Dublin's south inner city, where they now believe that Marioara was held as a sex slave.
The house had been torched, but after it was combed by forensics, they discovered six separate gunshots in the walls. Although none of Marioara's DNA was found, officers believe a major clean-up had been conducted.
Later, the gardai were led to another spot in an isolated area in Co Wicklow, close to the Kippure estate.
Romanian embassy representatives said that the ministry of the interior in Romania had been in contact with the Rostas family.
Her parents may return to Ireland over the next few days to accompany their child's remains as they are repatriated.
"It is a very sensitive case. It is a tragedy to lose a child like this," they said.
Roma and Traveller support organisation Pavee Point said the circumstances of Ms Rostas's disappearance and death highlighted how vulnerable the Roma community are.
Siobhan Curran, a Roma outreach worker, said that Roma women were particularly at risk of exclusion and violence and called on the Government to act now.
"We would be very concerned that the policies and laws in the state are marginalising Roma communities, and women in particular," she said.
"This is a huge opportunity to develop measures to include the Roma community."