Mother’s letter to Fiona Pender: ‘I hope you are in the light Fi as I know you did not like the dark’

John Pender pays tribute to ‘hero’ mother, who ‘never gave up looking for my sister’

Fiona Pender was 25 years old when she went missing.

Fiona Pender was 25 years old when she went missing.

 

The brother of missing woman Fiona Pender has called for a full garda review into his sister’s case.

John Pender also paid an emotional tribute to his mother, Josephine, who passed away last week after years of campaigning for information on her daughter, who was last seen in Co Offaly 21 years ago.

Gardaí believe Fiona was murdered. She was 25 years old, and seven months pregnant, when she went missing. However, despite extensive investigations, no trace of her has been found.

Josephine Pender, pictured in 2014. Photograph: Tom Honan.
Josephine Pender, pictured in 2014. Photograph: Tom Honan.

In a statement, issued on behalf of Mr Pender, he described his mother as a “hero”.

“She never gave up or gave in looking for my sister. In the face of such heartache after losing my brother Mark in a road traffic accident in 1995, and my late father Seán who took his own life in 2000 after not being able to cope with losing his children and grandchild, my mother kept fighting, kept hoping and kept searching for Fiona right up until the end,” said Mr Pender.

He said he hoped the annual Fiona Pender Walk would next year also be in memory of his mother.“My mother was a loving, gentle and kind woman who stayed strong and positive and never wished harm on anyone no matter what came her way. I am now calling for a full garda review and or cold case review into my sister’s case. There is only one chief suspect in Fiona’s case, and that has never changed.

“My mother and father both died of a broken heart and I have only been able to say goodbye to one family member, my mother, who passed away from natural causes – while no one else in my family did.

“It has been a struggle over the years, but the torch has been passed to me to find my sister. I hope you will all help me.”

Mr Pender also released a letter, which Emer Condron – a friend of Fiona – had read at Josephine Pender’s funeral. It had been written by his mother a few years ago to her daughter.

Dear Fiona,

When we lost your brother Mark on 12th June, 1995 you said to me “nothing worse can happen to us now mam”. We did not know then that 14 months later we would lose you and your baby on 22nd August 1996 and your dad on 31st March 2000 from a broken heart after losing his children.

When I lost you Fi, my first born, my beautiful only daughter, I lost my best friend with whom I could discuss anything, my shopping companion, you had such a flair for fashion. O the shoes and handbags we could have bought together Fi.

I hope you have met up with your dad and Mark and of course your devoted “Millie” in heaven. If you can do anything from heaven to help us find you and your baby if you can please do.

Emer and I have searched far and wide trying to find you and will never give up until we do.

I know you idolised your brother John from when he was a baby, you would be very proud of him now as he has become a fine young man despite all of the heartache he had to go through.

I hope you are in the light Fi as I know you did not like the dark. I also hope your feet are warm o how I long to rub them for you as we did when they were cold.

A section of Josephine Pender’s letter to her daughter.
A section of Josephine Pender’s letter to her daughter.

I greatly regret not being able to help you on the birth of your baby my grandchild. My heart and my arms ache never to have been able to hold and look after your baby. God to help John and myself, the only members of your family left to give us the strength to keep going after the loss of you our loved ones.

Love and light to you my precious daughter

love mam
xoxo