Gardaí investigating what is now classified as the murder of Annie McCarrick following her disappearance 30 years ago say her family, especially her mother, deserve to know what happened to her.
Senior officers overseeing the investigation confirmed on Friday it had now been reclassified as a murder investigation.
They issued a specific appeal for anyone with information, especially in relation to a brown handbag Ms McCarrick had at the time of her disappearance on March 26, 1993, to come forward.
Detective Superintendent Eddie Carroll, of the serious crime unit of the Dublin Metropolitan Region South Central Division, issued the appeal at a media briefing in Dublin on Friday to mark the 30th anniversary this weekend of her disappearance.
“The primary focus of this investigation is the victim, Annie McCarrick, and her family,” he said.
"Annie’s mother Nancy deserves to know the truth, she deserves to know what happened to her daughter on or about March 26, 1993.
“She is waiting 30 years for those answers.
"I, and the investigation team are determined to gather all available information and evidence to find those answers and bring this matter to a positive conclusion.”
An American national, originally from New York, Ms McCarrick visited Ireland as a teenager on a school trip and fell in love with the country and the way of life.
When she got home to New York, she told her parents she intended to return to Ireland to live.
In the late 1980s, Ms McCarrick completed third-level studies at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, and at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, before returning to New York in 1991, where she completed her studies at Stoney Brook University, New York.
Then on January 4, 1993, she fulfilled her dream of moving to Ireland to live permanently, settling in rental accommodation at St Catherine’s Court, Sandymount, Dublin 4, with two other tenants.
She worked as a waitress at the Courtyard Restaurant in Donnybrook and as a waitress at Café Java on Leeson Street, and on March 17, 1993, she attended the St Patrick’s Day Parade with friends.
She spent the next few days working, socialising in various licensed premises and visiting friends.
On Thursday March 25, 1993, she was on a day off but called to Café Java to collect her wages, which were not ready, so she arranged to call again the next day to collect them.
She visited friends and stayed for dinner and on Friday, March 26, 1993, she spoke to both her flatmates before they left separately to travel home for the weekend.
Gardaí know she had made arrangements with friends, inviting them to her apartment for dinner the next day, Saturday, March 27, and that she was excited planning for a visit by her mother, Nancy, who was due to arrive in Ireland on March 30, 1993.
Shortly before 11am on Friday, March 26, 1993, Ms McCarrick visited the Allied Irish Bank branch on Sandymount Road to carry out some personal banking. Her visit was captured on the bank’s CCTV system.
It is the last confirmed sighting of her. She has not been seen since.
There are reported sightings of her subsequently in the Sandymount Green area, with reported sightings of her boarding a number 44 bus bound for Enniskerry and a number of further reported sightings in Enniskerry village and Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen.
By March 28, 1993, her friends were concerned for her welfare. Annie was not at home on Saturday, March 27 when they called for dinner, and she had not turned up for work that day, or the following morning.
A friend called to her apartment on the evening of March 28 and spoke with Annie’s flatmates.
A friend reported her missing on the evening of March 28, 1993, at Irishtown Garda Station, and this missing person report was confirmed by her mother Nancy when she arrived in Dublin on March 30.
Gardaí established that groceries she had bought on the morning of Friday March 26, 1993, in Quinnsworth on Sandymount Road, had been left unpacked in shopping bags. A receipt in the bags confirmed the date and time of purchase as 11.02am that morning.
This is the last confirmed activity by Ms McCarrick.
Gardaí said on Friday they have maintained an open and active investigation into the case, with a dedicated investigation team based at Irishtown Garda Station, which over the last 30 years has discovered and collated in excess of 5,000 documents and reports, taken more than 300 statements of evidence, and retained a number of exhibits.
Det Supt Carroll said he and a senior investigating officer travelled to New York recently to speak to Ms McCarrick’s mother, Nancy, and that based on all of the information available to the investigation team, the missing person investigation has now been reclassified as a murder investigation.
Ms McCarrick is described as 5ft 8in in height, she weighed 10 stone, had long brown hair and spoke with a soft Irish-American accent.
When she disappeared, it is believed she was in possession of a large brown leather bag.
Det Supt Carroll said there is a person, or persons, who have information on the disappearance of Annie McCarrick and her murder on or about March 26, 1993, and who have not yet spoken to gardaí or who may have already spoken to gardaí but were not in a position to tell everything they know at that time.
"I am appealing to those persons, 30 years later, to please come forward and speak to the investigation team,” he said.
"I want to speak with any person who has any information on the large brown handbag which it is believed that Annie was in possession of when she went missing.
"I would urge any person or persons with information in relation to the murder of Annie McCarrick to please come forward to either the investigation team at Irishtown Garda Station at 01 6669600, your local Garda station or the Garda Confidential telephone line 1800 666 111."
Justice Minister Simon Harris said gardaí were “absolutely clear” there are people who have information about Ms McCarrick who have yet to speak to them and urged anyone with information to contact them.