US private investigators identify suspect they believe murdered Annie McCarrick
September 19 2020 02:30 AM
A US-based team of private investigators have identified a suspect who they believe is responsible for the murder of missing American woman Annie McCarrick.
Michael Griffith, a New York-based lawyer who was hired by Ms McCarrick’s family in the 1990s to help with the missing persons investigation, told the Irish Independent that information provided by a member of the public has led to a significant breakthrough in the case.
Mr Griffith arrived in Dublin earlier this week and met a detective from An Garda Síochána in relation to the probe.
“We spent almost two hours talking about the case and we have agreed to share information,” he said.
“I am confident that the gardaí are serious about solving the case and I think we can establish a relationship that will be mutually beneficial.
“There are serious efforts now being made to solve this case and we are hopeful that we can finally get justice for the McCarrick family.”
Earlier this month, the Irish Independent revealed that revealed that Mr Griffith and ex-FBI agent Kenneth Strange are planning to travel to Ireland later this year to try to find out what happened to the 26-year-old in 1993.
The team were contacted by a number of people following an appeal for information about the case, culminating in contact from one particular individual with significant information.
“I can’t go into specifics, but this is credible, significant information pertaining to the day Annie went missing,” said Mr Griffith.
“We had a lot of people come forward, who were very well intentioned, but the information they had, led us nowhere. In the case of this person, the details provided could lead to the breakthrough we need. They gave specifics relating to one individual that warrants careful investigation.”
Mr Griffith also said a separate witness account, not formally given to gardaí at the time, also fitted with the new lead.
A woman named Margaret Wogan, who has since passed away, and who worked in Poppies Café in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, is believed to have seen Annie come in with a man on the day she disappeared. Wogan told her daughter about the sighting and the information has recently come to the attention of Mr Griffith and his team.
“The pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together,” said Mr Griffith.
“Sometimes it just takes an effort to refocus people’s mind on a particular case to get information flowing. We are now focused on one individual and we are asking people to contact us with anything at all that might help. Contact us or contact the gardaí.”
Ms McCarrick was 26 when she was last seen taking a bus to Enniskerry.
Her father John, who spent years trying to find out what happened to her, died in 2009 with no answers.
Mr Griffith and Mr Strange have joined forces with Annie’s uncle, John Covell, to finally solve the mystery. “We are relying on someone who knows something to come forward,” said Mr Griffith.
“We have no body, no DNA and no witnesses but it will only take one person to open up, in confidence, about what they know happened to Annie.”
The US-based team is being assisted by Brian McCarthy, an Irish private investigator who was initially hired by the McCarricks when their daughter went missing almost 30 years ago.
Mr McCarthy is leading the revived private inquiry in Ireland and has spent the last number of months following up leads in relation to the case, including the sighting in Poppies Café.
“From what she told her daughter, she (Margaret Wogan) was adamant that Annie was in there in the afternoon with a man who fits the description of a suspect I have identified,” he said. “The female, if it was Annie, was hesitant about buying something and he said to her, ‘Do you want a slice of cake?’ He paid for whatever snack she got, and they left. The woman has since passed away, but she gave an initial statement to police. She was not asked to help with an e-fit. We think this sighting is more crucial than initially thought.”
Mr McCarthy will meet with detectives later this month to share details of his probe in the hope that further investigations can be made by the authorities here.
According to Mr Griffith, legal advice is being given to the private investigation team by Dublin-based Criminal Lawyer Joe Barnes.
At the time, gardaí investigating Ms McCarrick’s disappearance collected information to say that Annie visited Johnnie Fox’s Pub, in the village of Glencullen, high in the Dublin Mountains.
Mr Griffith and the US-based team do not believe that information to be true.
“She didn’t go there,” he said.
“Our own investigations have established that the sighting of her in the pub was a case of mistaken identity. This new information would tally with our belief that she didn’t go to the pub.”
Annie disappeared from her home in Sandymount, Dublin on Friday, March 26, 1993.
The last confirmed sighting of the tall, striking young woman was made by a former work colleague on the Number 44 bus to Enniskerry at approximately 3.30pm.
She told a friend she was going to the beauty spot, at the foot of the Wicklow mountains, for a walk but was never seen again.