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Dublin: 23 °C Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Facebook message led to family's renewed dig for Fiona Sinnott in Wexford

Relatives pooled their funds to pay for new searches this year – and are considering another fresh dig at another site.

THE FAMILY OF Wexford woman Fiona Sinnott say a Facebook message around two years ago led to a renewed effort to find her.

The 19-year-old was last seen on a night out with friends on the eighth of February in 1998.

After leaving the pub in the early hours of the ninth, she disappeared.

Despite an extensive garda investigation and large-scale searches, the question of what happened to the teenager has never been answered.

It was revealed this morning that her family had launched a private search for her, in parallel with the garda investigation.

sinn Fiona Sinnott

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One this afternoon, a relative of Fiona’s – ‘Marie’ – said they had been contacted with new intelligence via Facebook two years ago.

Gardaí took statements from the person who sent the message – and in the intervening time the family decided to launch their own dig.

“We were getting anxious so we decided to do it ourselves,” she said.

An initial dig was carried out between March and May of this year.

During that period, additional people came forward with information about two other sites of potential relevance.

The logistics of digging at one of those sites are now being examined, before any work is carried out.

‘Marie’ told the programme that investigating gardaí have been notified and were working alongside the family.

Relatives of Fiona pooled together to pay for equipment for the initial search this year, she said. A local firm also lent them a digger to use in their dig.

Asked whether the family were working on the assumption that Fiona had died, she said:

“We kind-of knew from day one that she was gone,” adding:

We want to believe that she’s out there somewhere… The reason why we believe she’s gone is that there’s no way that girl would have left her baby behind. 

The 19-year-old had been living alone with her one-year-old daughter Emma when she disappeared.

“She loved that child more than anything,” ‘Marie’ said.

“She would have laid down her life for that child. There’s absolutely no way she would have walked away from her.

“She was taken away, she didn’t walk away.”

Read: Ciara Breen investigation: Search of marshland back under way – in driving rain

Read: Fiona Pender search in Co Laois forest called off

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