A US-based team of private investigators have identified a suspect they believe is responsible for the murder of missing American woman Annie McCarrick.
Michael Griffith, a New York lawyer who was hired by Ms McCarrick's family in the 1990s to help with the missing person investigation, told the Herald that information provided by a member of the public has led to a significant breakthrough.
Ms McCarrick was last seen taking a bus to Enniskerry on March 26, 1993.
Mr Griffith arrived in Dublin earlier this week and met a detective from An Garda Síochána in relation to the probe.
"We spent almost two hours talking about the case and we have agreed to share information," Mr Griffith said.
"I am confident that the gardaí are serious about solving the case and I think we can establish a relationship that will be mutually beneficial.
"There are serious efforts now being made to solve this case and we are hopeful that we can finally get justice for the McCarrick family."
Earlier this month, the Herald revealed that Mr Griffith and former FBI agent Kenneth Strange are planning to travel to Ireland later this year to try to find out what happened to the 26-year-old.
The team were contacted by a number of people following an appeal for information, culminating in contact from one individual who had what was described as significant information.
"I can't go into specifics, but this is credible, significant information pertaining to the day Annie went missing," Mr Griffith said.
"We had a lot of people come forward who were very well intentioned, but the information they had led us nowhere.
"In the case of this person, the details provided could lead to the breakthrough we need.
"They gave specifics relating to one individual that warrants careful investigation."
Mr Griffith also said a separate witness account, which was not formally given to gardaí at the time, also fits with the new lead.
The information came from a woman named Margaret Wogan, who has since died.
She had been working in Poppies Cafe in Enniskerry and believes she saw Ms McCarrick come in with a man on the day she disappeared.
Ms Wogan told her daughter about the sighting, and the information has recently come to the attention of Mr Griffith and his team.
"The pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together," Mr Griffith said.
"Sometimes it just takes an effort to refocus people's minds on a particular case to get information flowing.
"We are now focused on one individual and we are asking people to contact us with anything at all that might help. Contact us or contact the gardaí."
Ms McCarrick's father John, who spent years trying to find out what happened to her, died in 2009 before getting answers about his daughter's disappearance.
Mr Griffith and Mr Strange have joined forces with Ms McCarrick's uncle, John Covell, to try to solve the mystery.
"We are relying on someone who knows something to come forward," Mr Griffith said.
"We have no body, no DNA and no witnesses, but it will only take one person to open up, in confidence, about what they know happened to Annie."
The US-based team is being helped by Brian McCarthy, an Irish private investigator who was initially hired by the McCarricks when their daughter went missing.
Mr McCarthy is leading the revived private probe in Ireland and has spent the last several months following up leads, including the sighting in Poppies.
"From what she told her daughter, Margaret Wogan was adamant that Annie was in there in the afternoon with a man who fits the description of a suspect I have identified," he said.
"The female, if it was Annie, was hesitant about buying something and he said to her, 'Do you want a slice of cake?'
"He paid for whatever snack she got and they left.
"The woman has since passed away, but she gave an initial statement to police.
"She was not asked to help with an e-fit. We think this sighting is more crucial than initially thought."
Mr McCarthy will meet with detectives later this month to share details of his probe in the hope that further investigations can be made by the author- ities here.