Man suspected over Co Wicklow abduction dies after being shot by garda

Driver of black Nissan Qashqai was being sought in connection with disappearance of Jastine Valdez (24) in Enniskerry

A large Garda team are trying to locate Jastine Valdez, an only child from the Philippines who is living in Enniskerry and who it is feared may have been bundled into a car just outside the village on Saturday

 

A man wanted in connection with abduction of Jastine Valdez (24) in Co Wicklow on Saturday has died.

He was wounded by a Garda member in a confrontation at the Cherrywood Industrial Estate near Bray. Gardaí believe the man was armed.

A manhunt had been underway for the suspect whom gardaí were told was seen forcing Ms Valdez into a car near Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

The student and part-time restaurant worker remained unaccounted for on Sunday night.

The suspect lived in Co Wicklow with his partner and children. He is in employment and failed to return home on Saturday night into Sunday after borrowing his partner’s car.

Gardaí were unaware of any links between him and Ms Valdez.

Originally from the Philippines, Ms Valdez is attending third level in Ireland and lives in Enniskerry.

Forced

The alarm was first raised on Saturday evening when gardaí received a report from a local woman who said she believed she saw a woman being forced into an SUV on the R760 road outside Enniskerry.

Another witness later came forward and described seeing a woman whom he believed looked distressed as she was travelling as a passenger in a dark coloured SUV.

Gardaí were investigating the report when Ms Valdez’s parents reported her missing. Detectives were working on the theory that Ms Valdez was the woman seen by the witnesses and believed the same man and vehicle had been cited by both witnesses.

At first light on Sunday gardaí went to the precise location where the first witness saw the alleged abduction. A search of that area yielded Ms Valdez’s mobile phone.

CCTV footage was collected and reviewed. Gardaí believe the SUV described by the two witnesses was captured on the footage. They then issued an appeal for anyone with any knowledge of a black Nissan Qashqai - registration 171 D 20419 - to ring 999. They advised people not to approach the driver.

“We are working very diligently to try find out where she is,” Supt Paul Hogan told journalists during a briefing at Bray Garda Station on Sunday afternoon.

“It is highly unusual for her not to be in contact with her mother. They are in contact all the time via Facebook and that contact has stopped so we are extremely concerned for her welfare and her safety.”

Not returned

When the registration of that vehicle was checked, it took gardaí to the home of the registered owner in Co Wicklow. That woman confirmed to gardaí her partner had gone out in her car to meet friends on Saturday afternoon but had not returned.

The manhunt continued and later culminated at the Cherrywood Business Park near Bray on Sunday evening with the suspect being shot and fatally wounded. Ms Valdez remained unaccounted for.

It is understood Ms Valdez has been living in Ireland for the past three years. She would have regularly walked along the road where she was apparently abducted. She is approximately 5ft in height, of slight build with long black hair and brown eyes. When last seen she was wearing a dark coloured jacket, white t-shirt, grey leggings and runners.

The Church of Ireland Archdeacon of Glendalough Ricky Rountree whose church St Patrick’s is next to the scene of the abduction, said everyone in the area was “traumatised” and “worried in terms of their own”.

“I think it will probably make people careful with their young people and their children.”

Walter Doyle, of Ballyman Road, Enniskerry, said he often saw Ms Valdez in the mornings when driving out the R760.

“I would see her and think that’s dangerous on such a busy road, God love her.”