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Gardaí searching a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border. Alamy Stock Photo

Woodland search continues as part of Deirdre Jacob murder probe

The family of missing woman Jo Jo Dullard are hoping the search in Kildare may help gardaí find Jo Jo.

GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING THE disappearance of Deirdre Jacob have concluded the second day of a major search operation in a remote wooded area of Co Kildare.

Investigators searching almost three acres of land have been stood down for the evening and will resume the operation tomorrow. The search of the area is expected to take up to three weeks.

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.

The family of another missing woman, Jo Jo Dullard, say they are praying the developments in Deirdre’s case will bring about answers for them. 

Gardaí upgraded her disappearance to a murder investigation in 2018 and 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.

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.

pjimage (24) Garda Press Office Garda Press Office

Inspector John Fitzgerald, who is leading the search operation, said yesterday that the investigation into the disappearance of JoJo Dollard is separate but the team “are mindful” that the location where she was last seen is nearby.

The family of Jo Jo Dullard said today that the family are “praying for the little chance” that the ongoing search might help gardaí might find Jo Jo after almost 26 years.

The 21-year-old was last heard from on 9 November 1995, when she called a friend from a phone box in Moone. While on the phone, a vehicle stopped to offer her a lift. Gardaí have never identified this person or vehicle.

Jo Jo’s sister Kathleen Bergin told The Pat Kenny Show: “Because of the close proximity of where it is to Moone… we’re praying for that little chance they may be able to find Jo Jo. 

“You never know what they may find. But our thoughts and prayers with Deirdre’s family and friends. We’re praying this lead will provide answers for them.

“We can never say any of the cases are connected, we don’t know. But we still have a little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, if they find Deirdre… it will help another case.”

Urging anyone with information to come forward, Bergin added: “Maybe someday we’ll get our chance, and that somebody will come forward and help us.

“Any piece of no matter how small, it’s very important.

That’s all we want: for someone not to feel afraid to come forward after nearly 26 years now. We would ask them not to be afraid, they won’t be judged and it will be dealt with in a very sensitive matter.

-With reporting from Niall O’Connor