Deirdre Jacob case: Wooded area in Wicklow and midlands location 'of interest'

Suspect linked to remote areas of Wicklow and Carlow-Laois border

Gardaí release CCTV footage that captures the last seen footage of Deirdre Jacob. The disappearance of Deirdre Jacob has been upgraded from a missing persons inquiry to a murder investigation. Video: An Garda Síochána

 

Gardaí are profiling areas in at least two counties for initial searches as they try to recover the remains of Deirdre Jacob or find some trace of her.

The Co Kildare teenager vanished 20 years ago from a roadside near her home outside Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Now, two decades after her disappearance, information has been supplied to the Garda Síochána. It has resulted in the investigation being upgraded from a missing persons inquiry to a murder investigation.

While the case has undergone a review over the past year, the new information is believed to have been received more recently – in the three-week period since a 20th anniversary appeal for information by the Jacob family last month.

Gardaí are also examining a chief suspect for the crime – a man in his 50s who has been known to them for many years.

The suspect, who is abroad at present, travelled in Carlow, Kildare, Wicklow and Dublin as part of his job .

Garda sources cautioned against expectations that the teenager’s remains were about to be found

Because of that, gardaí believe he had intimate knowledge of many remote areas in those counties.

Wooded area

Gardaí have identified a wooded area in east Wicklow and a second location in a remote area on the border between counties Laois and Carlow as places of interest in the search for Deirdre Jacob’s remains.

Parents of Deirdre Jacob, Michael and Bernadette Jacob, at Naas Garda station, Co Kildare during an appeal to the public marking the 20th Anniversary Deirdre’s disappearance this year. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Parents of Deirdre Jacob, Michael and Bernadette Jacob, at Naas Garda station, Co Kildare during an appeal to the public marking the 20th Anniversary Deirdre’s disappearance this year. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The areas now set for examination are places gardaí believe the chief suspect was familiar with and would have felt comfortable operating in.

Garda sources cautioned against expectations that the teenager’s remains were about to be found or that criminal charges were about to be brought against a suspect.

The same sources said while some “solid and useful” intelligence had been supplied, the murder inquiry now needed more information.

Informed sources stressed if any excavation work were to take place it would only commence based on very detailed information

Gardaí released a statement on Tuesday confirming the receipt of new information and the resultant upgrading of the investigation to a murder inquiry.

They are now hopeful the publicity around the case over the past 48 hours will prompt people who were close to the suspect in the late 1990s to come forward and provide more information.

Broken down

Garda sources said those people who had been close to the chief suspect knew he was the man now suspected of Deirdre Jacob’s abduction and murder.

Sources added that because of the man’s offending, his relationships with some friends and family members had broken down since the late 1990s.

Because of that, the sources said, any of the suspect’s former circle who had information but had not shared it to date may now be moved to come forward and confidentially aid the Garda’s murder investigation.

Informed sources stressed if any excavation work were to take place it would only commence based on very detailed information.

They said excavating even a relatively small area could take months and was very labour intensive and expensive.

‘Very firm’

“It is not something we have done, or that we would do, based on speculation or somebody’s hunch – information would need to be very firm,” said one source.

Gardaí believe Deirdre Jacob (18), a student teacher, was abducted from the roadside about 1½km from Newbridge on the day she was last see alive – Tuesday, July 28th, 1998. Gardaí believe the attack was likely spur of the moment by an attacker with a propensity for physical and sexual violence.