'Gardai have stopped looking for Dean', says friend of missing dad
The family and best friend of a man who has been missing for nearly three years are calling on gardai to search again for his body.
Dean Roche was last seen in Ballyfoyle, Co Kilkenny, in 2015, when he left the home he shared with his mother, Geraldine, who has cancer.
The father-of-one, whose case featured on CrimeCall earlier this year, disappeared after he bought a car in Bally- foyle.
The vehicle was later found crashed just half a mile away.
In February, the Defence Force and gardai carried out new searches for Mr Roche's body in and around Muckalee and Ballyfoyle.
His distraught family believe he was killed for the few hundred euro he had with him when he bought the car.
Mr Roche's best friend, Damien Hipwell, said: "We've not met with gardai since February, when the last searches were carried out.
"We are fearful the investigation will not continue. We all know Dean had his troubles with drugs and was no angel, but nobody deserves to be forgotten.
"I cannot and will not give up on him, and neither will his family.
"The stress of it all is wearing down Dean's mother, Geraldine. The pressure she is under is immense."
Mr Roche was last seen in Ballyfoyle, when he called at a woman's house in a distressed state at 8.15pm on March 21, 2015.
"She told gardai she saw a large silver car pass her gate," said Mr Hipwell. "She could hear a man shouting to another person, demanding they get in the car. It then roared off.
"All we want at this stage is to give Dean a decent burial.
"We are calling on gardai in Kilkenny to resume searches for his body, or at least give us some clue as to what is happening with the investigation."
Mr Roche's mother has given most of her son's clothes to charity, so convinced is she that he is dead.
A garda spokesperson said that Mr Roche is still listed as missing and that there are "no updates at present".
Wednesday marks Missing Persons Day, an annual day of commemoration started in 2013. It will be marked by a ceremony at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park.
The day commemorates those who have gone missing and recognises the lasting trauma for those left behind.
It also draws attention to open or unsolved missing persons cases, and creates an opportunity to provide information on available support services.
Each year, thousands of adults and children are reported missing. Fortunately, most are found safe and well.
A total of 7,350 people were reported missing in the first nine months of this year, of which 61 have not been found. Last year, the number of reports was 9,819 with 19 unsolved cases.
In 2004, the first year of An Garda Siochana's current system for recording and solving missing persons cases, there were 5,060 cases. By 2014, that figure had risen to 9,179.
Anyone with information about Mr Roche's disappearance should contact Kilkenny Gardai Station on 056-777 5000.