herald

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Family of missing Deirdre 'hopeful' of major break

Deirdre Jacob was 18 when she disappeared in 1998
Deirdre Jacob was 18 when she disappeared in 1998

The family of a trainee teacher who went missing 21 years ago yesterday say they are confident gardai are making real progress in the case.

Deirdre Jacob was 18 when she was last seen crossing the road toward the entrance to her home at Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, at around 3pm on Tuesday, July 28, 1998.

Her father Michael said gardai have been able to "inch the case further, little by little" after recent appeals.

"They're in the final stages of that case... that review will probably come to a conclusion in the next couple of months," Mr Jacob told Newstalk's Breakfast programme.

"But what very often happens - and hopefully what will happen as a result of our appeals this weekend - is that we might get some more very, very valuable calls.

Progress

"That then will give the detectives on the review case the go-ahead to add those to the great mix of information and hopefully progress the case."

He said the family is always "very hopeful" that they'll find out what happened 21 years ago.

"We have always been very, very positive, because you just have to be - if you don't hold a positive outlook through it, the world collapses around you," Mr Jacob said.

"It has never been the same, nor never will it be the same. But nevertheless we are striving to get that piece of information, and we're appealing to the public out there... we want them now to scrutinise their mind a little bit and find out if they have any further information.

"We will just gather ourselves together, and we will remain quiet for a few days... and just contemplate on what has happened."

Parents Bernie and Michael Jacob have appealed for help
Parents Bernie and Michael Jacob have appealed for help

Detectives reclassified the case as a murder investigation in August of last year, with video footage found following her disappearance playing a crucial role in the investigation.

CCTV footage from the day of Ms Jacob's disappearance has been digitalised, resulting in new witnesses being identified from the clearer video.

Deirdre had been visiting her grandmother before she disappeared.

Last year, the Herald revealed convicted rapist Larry Murphy was the prime suspect in the case.

Senior officers said at the time they were looking at a number of "persons of interest" and new lines of inquiry have been opened up.

"Larry Murphy is believed to be based in the UK at the moment - if he was to set foot in Ireland, he would be arrested on sight in relation to this investigation," a senior source said in 2018.

"However, there is nowhere near enough evidence yet to issue a European Arrest Warrant for his extradition and a team of eight gardai are now working full-time on this case."

Deirdre is described as 5ft 3in tall, of slim build with grey/green eyes and dark chin-length hair.

She was wearing a navy V-neck T-shirt with white trim, navy or black straight jeans and blue Nike runners.

She was carrying a distinctive black satchel-type bag with long shoulder straps and the word CAT in large yellow capital letters printed on the front.

This bag has never been found and, in addition to appealing for any information about the case, gardai are interested in hearing from anyone who has ever found or noticed a bag like this.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Newbridge Garda Station at 045-431212, the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

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