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US team plans 'one last roll of the dice' to solve riddle of lost Annie

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Annie McCarrick, whose disappearance in 1993 is a mystery

Annie McCarrick, whose disappearance in 1993 is a mystery

Annie McCarrick was 26 when she went missing.

Annie McCarrick was 26 when she went missing.

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Annie McCarrick, whose disappearance in 1993 is a mystery

A team including a former FBI agent will travel from the US to Ireland later this year in an attempt to solve the mystery 1993 disappearance of American student Annie McCarrick.

Ms McCarrick, who was living in Dublin at the time, was 26 when she was last seen taking a bus to Enniskerry.

Her father John, who spent years trying to find out what happened to her, died in 2009 with no answers.

Now, a lawyer who he hired in 1993 to help with the investigation into her disappearance has joined forces with a former FBI agent and Annie's uncle, John Covell, to finally solve the mystery.

The men have identified a prime suspect in the case and are hoping to get access to the cold case file on the initial investigation.

The men are being assisted by Brian McCarthy, an Irish private investigator who was initially hired by the McCarricks when their daughter went missing almost 30 years ago.

Mr McCarthy recently became aware of a witness statement allegedly given to gardai back in 1993, which puts a woman matching Annie's description in a local cafe in Enniskerry.

The private investigator, who used to work for the American embassy, believes the statement could put an entirely new timeline on the case.

At the time, gardai investigating Ms McCarrick's disappearance collected information to say that she had visited Johnnie Fox's Pub in the village of Glencullen, high in the Dublin Mountains.

Mr McCarthy and the US-based team do not believe that information to be true.

"She wasn't in Johnnie Fox's," said Mr McCarthy.

"It's not particularly well known, but the gardai were given a statement from a woman who worked in a small coffee shop out there called Poppies, in the village.

"The lady was in her 50s at the time I think.

Hesitant

"She was adamant that Annie was in there in the afternoon with a man who fits the description of a suspect I have identified.

"The female, if it was Annie, was hesitant about buying something and he said to her, 'Do you want a cake, 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 gardai.

"She was not asked to help with an e-fit.

"We think this sighting is more crucial than initially thought."

Mr McCarthy said that the sighting in Johnnie Fox's, which was late in the evening, did not make sense. The walk from the bus stop to the pub was almost 3km and it was raining on the day Ms McCarrick went missing.

Lawyer Michael Griffith, who first came to Ireland with John McCarrick in 1994 to offer a reward for information relating to his daughter's disappearance, was due to come to Ireland in March to meet an Irish lawyer who is assisting the team with the case.

"Unfortunately, Covid-19 came along and that trip was cancelled," he said.

"We plan to come later in the year and I'm confident that we can solve this. We have one main suspect.

"It's a cold case. We think if we put our heads together we can resurrect this case and solve it. One last roll of the dice," he added.

Mr Griffith and Mr McCarthy have joined forces with Kenneth Strange, a former FBI agent, and John Covell, a retired US naval officer who is married to Ms McCarrick's aunt Maureen Covell.