Former cold case detective admits biggest regret of career not finding out what happened to missing Deirdre Jacob
Alan Bailey said he wanted more than anything to give her heartbroken parents Michael and Bernie some answers
A former cold case detective has admitted that the biggest regret of his career is not finding out what happened to missing Deirdre Jacob.
As the 22nd anniversary of her disappearance approaches on Tuesday, Alan Bailey said he wanted more than anything to give her heartbroken parents Michael and Bernie some answers.
The retired officer, who headed up the Serious Crime Review Team at the time, told the Irish Sunday Mirror that the case resonated with him on so many levels as he has a daughter close to the same age as Deirdre.
In 2018 the trainee teacher’s case was upgraded from a missing person to a murder investigation.
Mr Bailey said: “My one regret when I left the job was that I wasn’t able to get some closure for Deirdre and her family.
“I could feel their pain and I had a daughter the same age and so many other things that really struck home with me.
“Her disappearance has truly baffled people over the years. The whole circumstances surrounding her disappearance are frightening.
“It was a lovely summer’s day and there were so many mundane normal things happening that day, along the road.
“We tracked everyone on that road way, people digging in fields and mending roofs, people bring children to and from town and it’s amazing that people saw her and clearly recall waving to her or greeting her and then she disappeared.”
One theory is that Deirdre may have been asked for directions and dragged into a car on the day she went missing just yards from her home in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
Mr Bailey added: “Currently there’s a file with the law officers in relation to admissions that were made and a man’s involvement in her abduction.
“They will decide what should or shouldn’t be done with it. It’s with the DPP at the moment.
“I would be hopeful that it might help in some way.
“With a normal investigation the passage of time can actually damage your investigation but the passage of time when it comes to a cold case is different.
“It’s different in that lives change, relationships change and a person that you were once afraid of or loved has changed and you might be more inclined to talk.”
Deirdre’s heartbroken father Michael told the Irish Sunday Mirror that he is calling on anyone with information surrounding his daughter’s disappearance to come forward.
He begged: “We are appealing to anyone who has even the slightest fragment of information to please come forward.
“Any bit of information would help the guards in their investigation.
“We are appealing for anyone that might have that information to come forward, now is a good time and particularly if it’s someone who has held on to a piece of information and maybe it’s bothering them somewhat and they want to get off their mind.”
He added: “The gardai can make headway with the slightest piece of information.”
Deirdre was just 18 years old when she vanished from outside her family home in Roseberry on the outskirts of Newbridge on July 28, 1998.
No trace of the young woman, who is described as being 5ft 3ins and of slim build, has ever been found.
On the day she went missing she was wearing a navy T-shirt with white trim on the collar and sleeves, navy or black straight jeans and blue Nike runners.
She was also carrying a distinctive black satchel-type bag with long shoulder straps and the word CAT in large yellow capital letters printed on the front.
The bag has never been located, and gardai are interested in hearing from anyone who has ever found or noticed a bag similar to this.
Enhanced CCTV footage from the day of Deirdre’s disappearance has helped the investigation by making images of people who walked down the street or drove through the area throughout that day clearer.
A file is currently with the DPP after officers submitted it in February regarding the disappearance of Deirdre and whether charges can be brought against rapist Larry Murphy in the case.
If the DPP decide to press charges against Murphy, a European Arrest Warrant will be sought.
He became a person of interest to detectives after it emerged he had visited the shop owned by Deirdre’s grandmother.
A prisoner also alleges Murphy told him in jail he had kidnapped a young woman outside Newbridge while pretending to ask for directions.
Retired detectives Alan Bailey and Noel Mooney took the testimony from the inmate at the time.
It is understood that they gave statements to members of the cold case unit about the information given by the prisoner.
At the time they believed the inmate’s account of Murphy’s confession was highly credible and even conducted a number of searches as a result of the information he provided.
However, the mystery surrounding her disappearance has remained unsolved.