Man held in connection with missing Aoife Phelan

Tue, Nov 6, 2012, 00:00

A man in his mid-20s has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of Aoife Phelan, the pregnant woman who went missing in Co Laois last month.

It is understood the man was known to the missing woman.

He is being detained in Portlaoise Garda station under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and can be held for up to 24 hours. The man, who was arrested on Monday afternoon, is not believed to have made any admissions to gardaí.

Gardaí conducted a detailed search of a property on the Timahoe Road outside Portlaoise last night.

It is understood CCTV footage is also being scrutinised by gardaí in an attempt to gain a clearer picture of Ms Phelan’s final movements. On the night she vanished, Ms Phelan (30) left the home where she worked as a nanny at 6.15pm to met a friend by arrangement on the Borris Road a short time later. The pair then went to a house at Colliers View in Portlaoise.

Although there were a number of sightings of her as she left Colliers View at 8.10pm on Thursday, October 25th, there has been no trace of her since.

Ms Phelan worked as a live-in nanny for a married couple with a young daughter in Portlaoise. They grew concerned and alerted her family on Friday morning when she was not in her room.

In the immediate aftermath of her disappearance, Aoife’s friends and family began using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to appeal for her return. Posters were also erected around Laois.

Betty Phelan always maintained her daughter’s disappearance was totally out of character. Her family were joined by hundreds of concerned friends and neighbours during a search last Sunday. They marked a week since her last sighting on last Thursday, when they were joined by hundreds of friends, neighbours and supporters for candlelit vigil at Colliers View in Portlaoise.

Gardaí have conducted searches in Portlaoise and Mountmellick and scoured phone and bank records. A Garda sub aqua unit also carried out a search of a lake at Kilminchy in Portlaoise, not far from where Ms Phelan disappeared.