By Sarah Slater
Gardaí are making fresh search efforts to find a missing father of one, whom his family have accepted is dead.
Dean Roche was 31 when he left the home he shared with his late mother, in Ballyfoyle, Co Kilkenny on March 22 in 2015.
The young father had intended to go and buy a car when he went missing. His new car was found crashed half a mile away from where he had purchased it, just north of Kilkenny city.
The latest search by Gardaí was carried out a couple of weeks ago over a vast track of land in Ballyfoyle. It is understood that officers no longer believe Dean’s remains are in the area.
Dean’s best friend Damien Hipwell, speaking on behalf of Dean’s family said: “We are delighted that the fresh searches have begun and the Gardaí are now keeping us fully informed as to how the investigation is going.
“There wasn’t an inch of grass which wasn’t searched and the Gardaí invited myself and some others out to look at the area they combed.
“All of the family accept that Dean is no longer alive and probably killed soon after he went to buy his new car. Gardaí have told us the new searches will continue to find his body over the coming weeks.
“Dean’s late mother Geraldine, who only died last March following a brave cancer battle, wanted her son laid to rest beside her and I’m determined to fulfill her last wish.
Geraldine, 59, a grandmother and mother of three spent the past three years searching for her son.
The Kilkenny woman, was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and was doing well up until a few weeks prior to her death, when she suffered a serious relapse.
She died at Castlecomer District Hospital surrounded by two of her sons, Keith and Eamonn, Dean’s son Jamie and her other grandchildren Sophie and Millie on March 30.
Damien also revealed that a TV documentary is now in the pipeline detailing Dean’s life and disappearance in the hope that fresh evidence may come to light.
“Work on the documentary is to start shortly and we are all hoping it will encourage those who have information about Dean’s disappearance to come forward.
“The only possessions found belonging to Dean were his trainers and they gave no clues as to what happened to him. There has to be more of his belongings out there somewhere,” added Damien.
“Dean was last seen by a woman in Ballyfoyle when he called at a woman’s house in a distressed and disorientated state at around 8.15pm on March 22, 2015.
“He ran off before she could help and she has told Gardaí that she saw a large silver car speed past her gate. She could hear a man shouting to another person demanding them to get in to the car and it roared off in to the distance.
Anyone with information can contact Kilkenny Garda station on 056-7775000.