Gardaí investigating the disappearance of Tina Satchwell have sealed off a woodland in East Cork which they will begin searching today.
News of the search operation of 40 acres at Castlemartyr woods, which comes just days before the first anniversary of Ms Satchwell’s disappearance, was confirmed in the wake of rumours and speculation which emerged on various social media channels over the weekend.
The rumours, which began circulating at the height of the emergency response to Storm Emma on Friday, suggested that gardaí had sealed off the woodland in Castlemartyr following a discovery.
But senior gardaí overseeing the missing persons investigation completely dismissed those reports, with one garda spokesman describing them as “unhelpful and potentially very upsetting”.
He insisted gardaí are not in receipt of any new information in relation to the disappearance of Ms Satchwell, who was last seen in Youghal last March.
And he said gardaí had always been planning, as is routine in such missing persons cases, to search areas of woodland and that the wooded area outside Castlemartyr had been identified for a search by specialist garda search teams.
But the severe weather of recent days resulted in the postponement of those searches.
Gardaí will begin searching the area today and will hold a media briefing at 11.30am this morning.
Ms Satchwell, 46, was reported missing by her husband, Richard, on March 24 last. He said she was last seen at their home in Youghal, Co Cork, four days earlier.
Two suitcases were missing from their home and more than €26,000 in cash, the proceeds of the sale of their previous home, was missing from their cash box.
Mr Satchwell said he didn’t report her missing sooner because he believed she had gone to stay with family in Fermoy to “get her head straight”.
Gardaí searched their home and car but found nothing suspicious. They later conducted underwater searches of Youghal Bay, which yielded no clues.
There was hope of a breakthrough last July, when Mr Satchwell contacted gardaí to say he had found two suitcases at a clothes bank in the Tesco carpark in Youghal, which looked like ones belonging to his wife.
However, following forensic tests on the suitcases, which were conducted at the Forensic Science Ireland laboratory, detectives said they were satisfied that they did not belong to Ms Satchwell and are not linked to her or her disappearance.
Mr Satchwell has repeatedly insisted he had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance. He told RTÉ in January that his wife was prone to mood swings, he believes someone helped her leave, and she could come back as suddenly as she left.
Anyone with information should contact Midleton Garda Station on 021-4621550.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved