Search for missing Jastine Valdez intensifies as suspected abductor shot dead by gardaí

Purse belonging to missing student is found near disused golf club in south Co Dublin on Monday during massive search operation

 

Gardaí will hold a case conference in Bray this morning as the search for missing Enniskerry Co Wicklow woman Jastine Valdez (24) intensifies around a number of south county Dublin and Wicklow border areas.

Her purse was found at a disused golf club in south Co Dublin on Monday and that area is now being combed by a large search team of gardai, troops and Civil Defence personnel.

Ms Valdez was abducted in Enniskerry on Saturday night after she alighted from a bus in the village and began walking her usual route home past the entrance to the Powerscourt Estate.

Witnesses reported seeing her being bundled into a Nissan Qashqai car which was later traced to the home of Mark Hennessy in Woodbrook a few kilometres away in Bray.

Gardaí were concerned about the reported abduction and were investigating the matter when Ms Valdez’s parents contacted them late on Saturday night to report her missing.

A second witness, a man, also came forward and told gardaí he had seen a woman travelling as a passenger in a dark SUV in the Enniskerry area. He said she looked distressed.

Ms Valdez, originally from the Philippines was reported missing on Saturday night by her family.

Killiney Dart station

On Sunday, Hennessy was spotted in the area around Killiney Dart station and was later apprehended and shot dead by armed gardaí in Cherrywood, some three kilometres west of Killiney.

On Monday morning, gardaí closed off the entrance to Killiney Hill and interviewed a number of people walking dogs there early this morning.

The Garda helicopter was also sighted making sweeps over Killiney Beach where there was a further Garda presence.

During the morning attention turned to the Rathmichael area a few kilometres south of Cherrywood, close to Shankill.

Gardaí are also understood to be the checking mobile telephone network in an attempt to pinpoint places where Mr Hennessy may have been over Saturday night and before he was spotted in Killiney.

Gardaí on Monday renewed their appeal for information on the movements of the car used in the abduction of Jastine Valdez, as investigators become increasingly concerned about her safety.

Jastine Valdez: the 24-year-old student was abducted on Saturday evening
Jastine Valdez: the 24-year-old student was abducted on Saturday evening

Investigators are trying to trace the movements of the Hennessy’s black Nissan Qashqai, registration number 171 D 20419, between 5pm on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday when the shooting occurred.

It is hoped any new information on the car’s movements could led to Ms Valdez’s location.

Appeal for information

Anyone with information on Ms Valdez or the car is asked to contact Bray Garda station 01-6665300, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Ms Valdez (24), who is from the Philippines, is described as 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.

Searches in the area and along the routes the car may have taken are being stepped up this morning. Hundreds of gardaí have been brought into Wicklow/south Dublin area to take part.

The investigation began on Saturday when a woman contacted gardaí and informed them she had seen a woman being bundled into the back of a dark-coloured SUV on the R760 outside Enniskerry just after 6pm.

Gardaí were concerned about the reported abduction and were investigating this matter when Ms Valdez’s parents contacted them late on Saturday to report her missing.

A second witness, a man, also came forward and told gardaí he had seen a woman travelling as a passenger in a dark SUV in the Enniskerry area. He said she looked distressed.

Mobile phone

Early on Sunday gardaí went to the scene from where the initial report of the abduction had been made. In a ditch by the side of the road, they found the missing woman’s mobile phone.

CCTV recorded in the area was gathered and reviewed. It assisted gardaí in identifying what they believed was the Nissan Qashqai the witnesses had seen.

They checked the registration of the vehicle and called to the owner, Hennessy’s home, in Bray. She told gardaí her partner had gone out in the vehicle the previous day and had not returned.

Gardaí issued several public appeals and then called a press conference at Bray Garda station yesterday afternoon. They issued the vehicle’s registration number and urged the public to alert gardaí if they saw the vehicle, but warned that the driver should not be approached.

When armed gardaí went to investigate a confrontation ensued with Hennessy, who gardaí said was armed with a knife. He was fatally shot at about 8pm.

Ms Valdez has been studying in Tallaght and had a part-time job in a restaurant in Bray. She regularly walked on the stretch of road where her apparent abduction was witnessed.

Hennessy is originally from Ballybrack in south Co Dublin. He had been living in Bray, Co Wicklow, with his partner and two young children. A construction worker in his 40s, gardaí believe his interest in Ms Valdez was sexual.

The scene of the shooting was sealed off and as it resulted in loss of life after a Garda firearm was discharged, the death will be investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.