The sister of missing Kildare man Trevor Deely has described some of the online speculation about her brother's disappearance as “outrageous” and she called for it to be toned down “several notches.”
The 22-year-old man went missing from Dublin city centre on December 7, 2000. He was last seen on CCTV in the early hours of the morning after attending a work Christmas party.
Gardaí issued a fresh appeal at the weekend for information on the 19th anniversary of his disappearance - saying that even the smallest piece of information may assist the investigation.
Trevor's sister Michele told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show that the family has kept trying different ways to find Trevor, but they keep 'coming up blank'.
“We've done a huge amount of work, but all that work, in a way, is coming to haunt us - it's really becoming a very difficult item for the family when we think about speculation.”
Online speculation needs to “come down several notches," she said.
"You'd want to read what people write online - it is outrageous. There's a lot of speculation around Trevor going to Alaska - that was the trip of a lifetime for him. He came home a couple of weeks prior to him going missing - it has nothing to do with anything.
“There's lots of theories - like Trevor went to Alaska, got caught up in something and somebody followed him back and did something to him.
“He was a simple guy. He was an entry level IT worker. And yet people have him caught up in this banking scam or that he was involved in some crazy scheme, and that's why he was taken. It's crazy.”
Ms Deely added that she's been rebuffed by multiple social media companies when she's brought the concerns to them.
“I battle a lot to get the right facts out there, but it's actually really difficult.”
There have been “hundreds, if not thousands” of potential witnesses with potential sightings over the years.
“You never know when you're going to get a story that actually is true and it could be the worst thing ever.
“But we don't know when that is. As we sit here this morning, there is nothing proven, it feels like forever already.
“Trevor would never give up on us - that's our commitment. As difficult as it is to deal with the speculation, we won't give up. We have to keep fighting through it until we find him.”