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missing women

Gardaí search in Kildare as part of Deirdre Jacob murder probe

Deirdre Jacob was last seen on 28 July 1998 near her home in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

LAST UPDATE | 11 Oct 2021

GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING THE 20 year mystery of the disappearance of Deirdre Jacob have concluded a forensic search at a site in Kildare for the evening. 

Gardaí said the scene has been preserved and that searches will resume in the morning. 

Deirdre Jacob was last seen on 28 July 1998 near her home in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

She is one of at least six women who vanished in the east of the country in the 1990s.

Gardaí upgraded her disappearance to a murder investigation in 2018 and sources have confirmed that members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation travelled to the UK to interview a suspect.

As a result of the renewed focus on the case new witnesses have come forward. As part of the cold case review the file and previous statements have also been re-examined by detectives. 

During this re-examination they re-interviewed witnesses who were also part of the original file – one element of that re-examination was the movements around a woodland some 16 kilometres south of the town of Newbridge.

During this re-examination and interviews “credible information” was developed and that has led gardaí to woodland to Usk Little on the Wicklow and Kildare border. Inspector John Fitzgerald, who is leading the search operation, said a review of the evidence identified the woodland as “an area of interest”, which may be relevant to the inquiry.

Deirdre Jacob Murder victim Deirdre Jacob who was last seen 28 July 1998

Investigators are searching almost three acres of land, which is expected to take up to three weeks.

Fitzgerald said up to 15 people will be involved in the search each day, made up of members of the garda technical bureau team as well as a forensic archaeologist.

The garda inspector said the information about the unusual activity was reported some time ago, but, following a review of the murder investigation, it was deemed more relevant than initially thought.

“There was unusual activity noticed in the woodland in and around the time Deirdre went missing, and based on that we felt it prudent to commence a further search of the area,” he said.

“The area has been under review for some time. We have carried out a cursory search some time ago and then the recommendation was to commence a search in October as it is the best chance of success based on the fact that it’s thick land.

“There’s is a lot undergrowth and the time of year gave us the best opportunity to gather any evidence that may be here.”

He said Ms Jacob’s family are aware the searches are taking place.

He also said that, while the investigation into the disappearance of Ms Dollard is separate, the team “are mindful” that the location where she was last seen is nearby.

He also said it is important to “manage expectations” and “not get ahead of ourselves”.

“Any development is significant but it is a big step for us to take this ground and search it. If evidence is found, it will be assessed and the senior investigating officer will decide where to go from there,” Fitzgerald added.

Garda search 012 Inspector John Fitzgerald from Kildare Garda station briefing media at a wooded area near Usk Little, Kildare. Sasko Lazarov Sasko Lazarov

“We would like to thank the public for their assistance and it will take some time to get through and we appreciate their assistance.

“We have a lot of significant assistance from the public and we will see how we go.”

Another missing person case Jo Jo Dullard, 21, who disappeared in 1995 from Moone in Kildare was also upgraded to murder earlier this year.

Her disappearance was just a ten minute journey from where Deirdre Jacob was last seen.

With reporting the Press Association.