The parents of a teenager who went missing 20 years ago today have issued an appeal to a person they believe has "vital" information about her dis- appearance, insisting it is not too late to "do the right thing".
Deirdre Jacob was only 18 when she went missing while walking home to Roseberry, outside Newbridge, Co Kildare, on July 28, 1998.
The trauma of losing their daughter has never left her parents, Michael and Bernie.
A definite line of inquiry has never been established, and speaking outside Naas Garda Station yesterday, Mr Jacob called the mystery a "big jigsaw" with one piece missing.
"We believe there's someone out there who knows what happened and that they have a vital piece of information," he said.
"It has been a long and desperate 20 years for our family, but it has also been a long time for a person out there to hold on to information.
"Every time an appeal is made, someone comes forward with a little bit of information. Somewhere along the way we will convince that person with information to come forward.
"If someone out there has information, they have been holding on to it for a very long time.
"I would plead with them to come forward, so they can put our hearts at ease."
Mr Jacob is also calling for the establishment of a new dedicated garda missing persons investigation unit.
His wife told the Herald that she thinks about her daughter all the time.
"It's been so hard on us through these years - 20 years have gone by in the blink of an eye," said Mrs Jacob.
"Deirdre has never left our hearts. Her presence is still very much alive throughout our home. Everything we do we're reminded of her, and the thoughts of never knowing what happened is terrible.
"We've never given up hope and are desperate for any information at all that will lead to our daughter being found."
She added that if someone was responsible for Deirdre's disappearance, it was not too late for them to come clean.
"They can still do the right thing. It must be a terrible secret to have. I'm sure it must bother them," she said.
"We are hoping this new appeal will encourage them to pass on the information they know."
Chief Supt Martin Walker, of Naas Garda Station, said gardai were supporting the family's appeal.
When she was last seen, Deirdre was wearing a navy V-neck T-shirt with a white trim on the collar and sleeves, navy or black straight jeans and blue Nike runners.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or Newbridge Garda Station on 045 431212.