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The Deirdre Jacob case - from missing person file to murder investigation

Deirdre Jacob was last seen within yards of the driveway to her parents’ house.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

ON 28 JULY 1998, Deirdre Jacob disappeared from her hometown of Newbridge in Co Kildare. Today, more than 20 years on, her case has been upgraded to a murder investigation.

There has been much speculation around the 18-year-old’s disappearance over the years, particularly as a number of other young women went missing in the country between 1993 and 1995.

However it is only in the last year that gardaí received the information they needed to upgrade the investigation from a missing person’s case to a murder inquiry.

Deirdre’s last movements

Deirdre Jacob had finished her first year of study at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, London, where she was training to become a teacher. She had returned for the summer and was staying with her parents at the family home in Newbridge.

On 28 July, she left the house at around 12.50pm and went to Newbridge town to visit her grandmother in her shop.

Deirdre left the shop and went to the local AIB bank and then the Post Office. She needed a bank draft to send a rent deposit to her friend as she was due to start her second year of teacher training in Twickenham after the summer.

After this, she went back to her grandmother’s shop before heading for home, which was a 25-minute walk from the town. Footage released by gardaí today shows the young woman walking through down the Main Street at 2.35pm.

Source: An Garda Síochána

She was wearing a navy, v-neck t-shirt and dark-coloured jeans with blue Nike runners. She was also carrying a black satchel bag with the Caterpillar logo (CAT) in large yellow letters.

She was last seen at around 3pm within yards of the driveway to her parents’ house on the Barrettstown Road, Roseberry.

Deirdre never made it inside.

Source: Crimestoppers

Twenty years of appeals

Deirdre’s case has been one of the most high-profile missing persons investigations in Ireland and there have been regular appeals by gardaí and her family over the past two decades.

Motorists had seen her within yards of the family’s driveway, but beyond that there were no further sightings of her.

Source: Garreth MacNamee/TheJournal.ie

Over the last 12 months local investigators and the Serious Crime Review Team have reviewed this case in detail and last month her family made their 20th anniversary appeal.

“It’s a big jigsaw and there’s one piece missing. We believe there is someone out there who knows what happened and that they have a vital piece of information. It has been a long and desperate 20 years for our family. But it has also been a long time for a person out there to hold on to information,” Michael Jacob told TheJournal.ie at the time.

“Every time an appeal is made someone comes forward with a little bit of information. somewhere along the way we will convince that person with information to come forward.

If there’s someone out there with information – they’ve been holding onto it for a long while. It must bother them. Why not come forward now? It’s 20 years. Come forward and get it off your mind and you’ll feel better for it.

Source: RTÉ Crimecall

Breakthrough

In a fresh appeal this morning, gardaí announced they have upgraded the case to a murder investigation.

They made this decision following the review over the last 12 months and “substantial” new information coming to light. TheJournal.ie understands that a person of interest, known to gardaí for violent crimes, has been identified.

Chief Superintendent Brian Sutton said that he expects searches to be carried out in the coming weeks and he urged anyone whose “moral compass” may have changed to come forward.

“We pulled apart the investigation. Detectives from Kildare along with officers in the serious crime review team have been working on this,” he told TheJournal.ie.

We saw new lines of inquiry that needed to be followed and new information had come to light as well. We sat down around six weeks ago and decided to reclassify this as a murder investigation.

“We know these new lines of information need to be corroborated and that’s what we’re working on now.”

He said that gardaí will be re-interviewing people and are also appealing for anyone with any information to get in touch.

Deirdre’s parents Michael and Bernadette said this morning’s news has left them shocked.

Speaking to TV3, they said: “It’s still a shock – it’s a real heart wrencher we were literally stunned. Nobody wants to hear that their child has been murdered. It seems new information – that a crucial piece that will move things on was found.”

Gardaí have taken more than 2,000 statements and followed over 2,500 different lines of inquiry during the 20-year investigation.

An incident room has now been set up at Kildare Garda Station, and the investigation team are following a number of lines of enquiry.

The investigation team can be contacted at Kildare Garda Station on 045 521222 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

-With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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