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'I hope you are in the light now Fi': Letter written by late mother of missing Fiona Pender

Fiona Pender’s brother John has released a statement, following the death of his mother.

original (4) Fiona Pender was last seen on Friday 23 August 1996 Source: The Pender Family

JOHN PENDER, THE brother of missing Offaly woman Fiona Pender, has issued a statement thanking the media for its support following the death of his mother Josephine.

John Pender also shared a letter written by his mother on 22 August 2011 to Fiona, 15 years after her disappearance.

An ardent campaigner since Fiona disappeared on 23 August 1996, Josephine Pender made numerous public appeals for information related to her daughter’s whereabouts. She died earlier this month, following a long illness.

Fiona Pender was seven months pregnant when she was last seen in Tullamore, Co Offaly. She was 25 years old.

While there has been one main suspect in the case, he has never been charged. No trace of Fiona has been found, despite numerous searches by gardaí.

The letter from Josephine Pender reads:

“Dear Fiona,

When we lost your brother Mark on 12 June 1995 you said to me “nothing worse can happen to us now mam”. We did not know then that 14 months later we would lose you and your baby on 22 August 1996 and your dad on 31 March 2000 from a broken heart after losing his children.

“When I lost you Fi my first born, my beautiful only daughter I lost my best friend with whom I could discuss anything, my shopping companion you had such a flair for fashion. O the shoes and handbags we could have bought together Fi.

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I hope you have met up with your dad and Mark and of course your devoted “Millie” in heaven. If you can do anything from heaven to help us find you and your baby if you can please do.

“Emer and I have searched far and wide trying to find you and will never give up until we do.

“I know you idolised your brother John from when he was a baby, you would be very proud of him now as he has become a fine young man despite all of the heartache he had to go through.

I hope you are in the light Fi as I know you did not like the dark. I also hope your feet are warm, oh how I long to rub them for you as we did when they were cold.

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“I greatly regret not being able to help you on the birth of your baby my grandchild. My heart and my arms ache never to have been able to hold and look after your baby. God to help John and myself, the only members of your family left to give us the strength to keep going after the loss of you our loved ones.

“Love and light to you my precious daughter love mam xoxo.”

The letter was read out by Fiona’s friend Emer Condron at the funeral mass for Josephine last Saturday at St Colmcille’s Church, Durrow, Co Offaly.

In his statement, John Pender praised his mother for her 21-year-long battle to find Fiona.

josephine pender Source: RTÉ

He said: “My mother was a hero, she never gave up or gave in looking for my sister.”

John referenced the death of his brother Mark in a road accident in 1995 and his father Sean who died by suicide in 2000 and said his mother “kept fighting, kept hoping and kept searching for Fiona right up until the end”.

He continued: “I hope that between myself and my community, we will be able to keep the annual walk for Fiona going, but next year will be a very important walk because it will also be in memory of my sister and my mother.

Please keep Fiona and her baby and my mother in your hearts. My mother was a loving, gentle and kind woman who stayed strong and positive and never wished harm on anyone no matter what came her way.

John Pender also called for a full garda review or cold case review into Fiona’s disappearance.

He said: “My mother and father both died of a broken heart and I have only been able to say goodbye to one family member, my mother, who passed away from natural causes – while no one else in my family did.

It has been a struggle over the years, but the torch has been passed to me to find my sister. I hope you will all help me.

Read: Mother of missing woman Fiona Pender dies following long battle with illness

Read: ‘Some days I just cry and cry’: Fiona Pender’s mother on her daughter’s disappearance

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