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'She had so much living to do... she will never be forgotten'

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Annie McCarrick aged 12 holding her aunt’s bridal bouqet

Annie McCarrick aged 12 holding her aunt’s bridal bouqet

Annie McCarrick aged 12 holding her aunt’s bridal bouqet

Annie McCarrick is 12 years old in the picture, sitting on a wall, dressed in a pink T-shirt and grey shorts, holding her aunt Maureen's bridal bouquet.

White ribbons are streaming from the stems, skimming her legs.

She's smiling innocently from ear to ear, unaware that the shot, one of several from a now treasured family collection, would become a lasting reminder of all that has been lost.

"She never had her own wedding day," said her aunt, Maureen Covell, speaking from her home in New York.

"None of the milestones we all take for granted were ever reached and that's one of the greatest tragedies.

"She had so much living still to do. It's been a very long 27 years without her, but she isn't forgotten.

"She will never be forgotten," Maureen added.

The mysterious disappearance in 1993 of the young American student is one of the biggest unsolved missing person cases on garda files.

Leads

The case remains open and is periodically reviewed, say gardai, but a suspect has never been formally identified and there are currently no leads.

Annie disappeared from her home in Sandymount, Dublin, on Friday, March 26.

The last confirmed sighting of the tall, striking 26-year-old was made by a former work colleague on the 44 bus to Enniskerry at about 3.30pm.

She told a friend she was going to the beauty spot, at the foot of the Wicklow mountains, for a walk.

Later that evening, days before her mother was due to arrive from the United States for a visit, Annie didn't show up as expected to collect her wages from the Baggot Street coffee shop where she worked.

On Saturday, when some of Annie's friends arrived at her apartment for a previously arranged dinner party, there was no sign of her.

A bag of groceries from SuperQuinn, which she had purchased earlier on that Friday morning, lay unpacked on the kitchen table.

A few days later, on the other side of the Atlantic, Maureen Covell received a frantic phone call from her family in New York.

Annie had gone missing, she was told, and her mother Nancy was going to Ireland to try and find her.

"I have a vivid recollection of first hearing about Annie's disappearance," said Maureen.

"You never forget something like that."