The family of Deirdre Jacob has issued a fresh appeal for information 20 years on from her disappearance and has called for the setting-up of a dedicated missing persons unit.
Ms Jacob was just 18 years old when she went missing from Newbridge in Co Kildare on July 28, 1998. Folllowing a routine morning in which she visited the post office, the bank, and her grandmother’s house, she was just a 25-minute walk from her home when she vanished.
Yesterday, her parents, Bernadette and Michael Jacob, went to the steps of Naas Garda station to issue a renewed appeal for information relating to their daughter, who, at the time of her disappearance, had completed the first year of her teacher training course at St Mary’s College in London and was home for the summer.
The couple also praised the efforts of gardaí in Co Kildare regarding Deirdre’s disappearance, but said that a dedicated missing persons unit would help to retain expertise in a core area and assist families desperate for a breakthrough regarding their loved ones.
Michael Jacob told RTÉ: “Given it’s 20 years, we feel an appeal now might encourage someone that has a piece of information. It may seem very insignificant in the greater scheme of things with the great investigation that has taken place, but that piece might change the whole direction of it.”
Bernadette Jacob said: “It is a long time and yet the time has gone back very quick and we just need answers. We need to find out what happened Deirdre.”
Gardaí have chased up 4,500 different leads in relation to the case and while some people linked to other disappearances in the Leinster and Midlands area have been interviewed over the years, gardaí said they have no suspect in relation to Deirdre’s case.
Superintendent Martin Walker urged anyone with information to come forward, claiming the passing of time did not diminish the importance of any potential new leads.
“We have had 20 years of very good experience and co-operation from members of the public but that snippet of information, that key piece of information, we don’t have it at this stage,” said Supt Walker.
“I am a firm believer that it is out there — someone who has not come forward already has that key piece of information, if they would come forward, confidentially or otherwise and let us know what it is.”
Deirdre’s parents said when they met with the families of other missing women, they heard a desire for a dedicated missing persons unit and said they believed it is a good idea.