herald

Friday 16 November 2018

Sister of missing girl Jo Jo dies without closure at 67

Mary Phelan
Mary Phelan
Mary's younger sister, missing Jo Jo

A sister of missing woman Jo Jo Dullard, who tirelessly campaigned to highlight her disappearance and bring her killer to justice, has died. She had been diagnosed with liver cancer last Christmas.

Mary Phelan never gave up her 23-year-long search for her younger sister Jo Jo, who disappeared without trace on November 9, 1995, while hitch-hiking home to Kilkenny from Dublin.

She had called a friend from a phone box in Moone, Co Kildare, telling her a car had stopped nearby, but she was never seen again.

The 21-year-old's high- profile case became part of Operation Trace, set up in October 1998.

Mary (67), from the village of Cuffesgrange, Co Kilkenny, passed away at her home early yesterday, with her husband Martin, son Melvin and daughter Imelda, along with her sisters Kathleen and Nora, at her side.

Her funeral notice reads that Mary is "finally at peace with her sister Jo Jo".

Family friend and Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness said: "It's very, very sad that Mary has passed away. She was an amazing woman. She did so much for everyone. It's just so sad for Mary and her family that she never got closure on what happened before she passed away."

Justice

During her fierce campaign for justice, Mary travelled to the US where she met Hillary Clinton. She repeatedly said that gardai had information on a man she believed was a suspect.

A national monument to missing people, at Kilkenny Castle, featuring the handprints of family members of the missing, was commissioned by a trust established by Mary in 2002.

Mary will be laid to rest on Monday following Mass at the Church of the Holy Cross, Cuffesgrange.

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