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'New leads' in disappeared women cases

Operation Trace detectives reported to have received new information in mysterious cases of missing Leinster women.

Rapist Larry Murphy, who gardai have previously questioned in relation to the disappearances of Jo Jo Dullard and Deirdre Jacob
Rapist Larry Murphy, who gardai have previously questioned in relation to the disappearances of Jo Jo Dullard and Deirdre Jacob

IT HAS BEEN reported that gardai have received new information on the cases of two young women who disappeared without trace over a decade ago. Jo Jo Dullard was 21 when she was last seen trying to hitch a lift home to Kilkenny from Dublin and Deirdre Jacob was just 18 when she went missing near her home in Co Kildare.

While the Garda Press Office told TheJournal.ie that no official statement had been released relating to Operation Trace, which the press office described as “an ongoing operation”, today’s Irish Sun carries quotes from “a Garda spokesman”. The paper says that he confirmed that the Garda  Serious Crime Review Team and Operation Trace – which was set up to investigate the disappearance of several young women in the Leinster area – both received the new leads in the past three months.

The spokesman is quoted as saying they could not be more specific on the nature of the new information.

Wicklow man Larry Murphy, who was released last August after serving ten years of a 15-year sentence for rape and attempted murder, is the chief suspect in Jo Jo and Deirdre’s disappearance.

Murphy, now 45, raped and tried to kill a woman whom he abducted in Carlow and subjected to a torturous ordeal in the Wicklow Mountains in 2000. Originally from Baltinglass, Murphy has since left the country under heavy media scrutiny.

Jo Jo Dullard went missing on the evening of November 9, 1995 as she made her way home from Dublin to Kilkenny. She made a phone call at a phone box in Moone, Co Kildare and was last seen near to the spot where Murphy first raped his Co Carlow victim. Deirdre Jacob disappeared while out walking on the road a few hundred yards from her parents’ home outside Newbridge on July 28, 1998. Murphy was working in the area as a carpenter at the time.

Detectives from Operation Trace – investigating the disappearance of Jo Jo and Deirdre and four other young women, Annie McCarrick, Fiona Sinnott, Fiona Pender and Ciara Breen – had interviewed Murphy on at least three occasions about the missing women but he has consistently denied any involvement.

Three years ago, two FBI agents came to Dublin to study the files of Operation Trace. They concluded that there was a possible serial killer who was white, married and aged in his 30s when the women went missing.

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