An investigation into the disappearance of Annie McCarrick 30 years ago has been upgraded to a murder inquiry.
Ms McCarrick (26), a young American woman who was living in Ireland at the time, went missing on March 26th, 1993. The last reported sighting of her was at Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains.
Speaking at a press conference to mark the 30th anniversary of her disappearance on Friday, Det Supt Eddie Carroll said there was now sufficient evidence to suggest Ms McCarrick had been murdered.
He declined to give specifics of new evidence but said it involved upgraded forensic techniques that were not available 30 years ago, adding that the same techniques are involved in the reopening of the 1984 Kerry babies case.
Det Supt Carroll said Ms McCarrick’s father, John, died in 2009 without knowing what happened to his only child but Ms McCarrick’s mother, Nancy, in New York, “deserves to know what happened to her daughter on March 26th, 1993. She has been waiting 30 years for answers. I, and the investigation team, are determined to gather all information to find answers and bring the matter to a conclusion. I have made this commitment to Nancy and her family.”
Her mother was visited recently in New York by gardaí.
In the three decades since Ms McCarrick’s disappearance gardaí have collated more than 5,000 documents and reports, taken in more than 300 statements of evidence and retained a number of exhibits. A senior investigating officer has been formally appointed to lead the investigation.
Det Supt Carroll said gardaí now want to talk to people who may have had conversations with Ms McCarrick on March 26th, 1993, “but who haven’t yet spoken to gardaí or who may have already spoken to gardaí but were not in a position to tell everything that they knew at that time”.
“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.”
Ms McCarrick was born in 1967 and grew up in Long Island, New York. She was an only child who came to Ireland in the late 1980s and studied at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
At the time of her disappearance she had fallen in love with Ireland and wanted to settle in the country despite her parents’ wishes that she return to live in the United States.
In March 1993 she was living in rented accommodation at St Cathryn’s Court in Sandymount, Dublin, with two friends.
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On the day she disappeared she went to the AIB on Sandymount Road to do some banking. At 11.02am she went to her local Quinnsworth and bought food with a view to hosting a dinner party the following evening with some of her friends.
She was captured on CCTV outside the AIB which is the last confirmed sighting of her. She deposited the shopping on the table of her home in St Cathryn’s Court in Sandymount. This was her last confirmed activity. She appears to have left in a hurry as she did not put any of the shopping in the fridge.
She may have left quickly to catch a number 44 bus for Enniskerry. There are reported sightings of her in the Sandymount Green area boarding the bus and a number of further reported sightings in Enniskerry village and Johnny Fox’s pub but no confirmed sightings.
On March 28th, 1993, her friends were concerned for her welfare. She was not at home on Saturday March 27th when they called for the dinner invite. She had not turned up to her job at Cafe Java on Leeson Street either on the Saturday or on the morning of Sunday 28th.
Her disappearance was completely out of character and so far, there have been no solid leads as to what happened her.
Minister for Justice Simon Harris said gardaí had made the decision “based on a whole variety of scenarios to reclassify the missing persons investigation into Annie McCarrick as a full murder investigation”.
“She was somebody from the States who had come to Ireland, who had fallen in love with Ireland, who had studied in Ireland and had returned to live here permanently,” he said.
“And her dad died without ever knowing what happened to his beloved daughter and her mother, Nancy, has every right to know what happened to her daughter.
[ Annie McCarrick, Deirdre Jacob, Fiona Pender... ‘There must be witnesses out there’ ]
“The gardaí have been working extremely hard on this to carry out so many interviews and indeed visited Nancy in New York relatively recently and today, they’ve made a decision, for a variety of reasons, to upgrade that to a murder investigation,” he told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne.