TWENTY years ago last Saturday Deirdre Jacob crossed the road towards her home in Newbridge and was never seen again.
At a press conference in Naas Garda Station on Friday her family made a desperate appeal for information to help them solve the mystery of what happened on Tuesday 28 July 1998.
Deirdre was just 18 years old when she disappeared after a trip to Newbridge town where she visited the bank, the post office and her granny’s shop before heading home.
“It has been a long hard grind, day in, day out, night in, night out,” said her father Michael.
“There are always markers along the way that give you a jolt and you feel, where’s Deirdre? She should be there, she should be in such a photo, at such a family occassion and she’s not there.
“In the quietness of the night if you awaken, it comes to mind straight away and you’re wrestling with it all the time.
“From that point of view it has been a long and desperate 20 years and sometimes you think it has just gone by in the blink of an eye.”
When Deirdre’s mother Bernie returned home from work that day she found the front door to their home double locked. This immediately set off alarm bells as it meant Deirdre wasn’t home.
Her family began contacting her friends and by 10pm that night gardai in Newbridge had started searching the area.
Michael said Deirdre was very particular about letting them know her movements.
“She might have plans made but if these plans changed in any way she would let us know as to what was happening,” he said.
The following morning after her dissappearance a massive search took place.
“There was a landscape search. Every hedge, ditch, bog, woodland, was turned over and searched and that search continued for a month. Then the serious job of correlating all that information has gone on and there have been many reviews since.”
Superintendent Martin Walker said a number of reviews have taken place over the years and the case remains open but they are no closer to knowing what happened to Deirdre.
The family have continued to appeal for information in the hope that somewhere along the line, they will convince whoever that has that vital piece of information to come forward and make a difference.
“It would help us to start to move on a different track,” said Michael.
“We would know. As we are at the minute, we don’t know and it is very difficult to comprehend the difficulty of not knowing something like that.”
He believes that something as simple as an overheard conversation, an observation or a change of circumstances could hold the key to the puzzle.
“Maybe they’ve been holding on to it for a long time. I think if there’s someone holding on to information for a long time it would bother them at times and why not come forward now.
“It’s 20 years, it’s a long, long time to be holding on to something. Come forward, get it off your mind and you’ll certainly feel the better of it.”