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Former FBI agent investigating disappearance of Annie McCarrick believes case can be solved

The American vanished from her home in Dublin 29 years ago this week

Annie McCarrick

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A former FBI agent who acts as a liaison for the family of missing woman Annie McCarrick has said he remains positive that the case can be solved.

Kenneth Strange is a private investigator in California and a family friend of the McCarricks.

He has called for the case of McCarrick who went missing 29 years ago this week from her Dublin home to be upgraded to murder investigation.

Ms McCarrick was from Long Island in the US and had travelled here to study, living in Sandymount in Dublin with two friends.

On Friday, March 26, 1993, the 27-year-old left her house to go walking in Co Wicklow and vanished without trace.

Mr Strange, who travelled here last September to retrace Annie's final steps as he investigates the case for her family said: “When someone vanishes and they are part of kind of a series of women that vanish and there is no evidence whatsoever and it is all in the same area, then I would say we are talking about murder.”

He believes Gardaí should upgrade the case to a murder investigation.

“If upgrading it means to throw more resources at it and more man-hours and give it much more thought, I would say yes, I would be very much for that.

“Certainly, that would be beneficial and I am for anything that would solve the case.”

Mr Strange said he remains positive there could be a breakthrough in the case.

“I’ve followed cases like this and even after many, many years, something can come up,” he said.

“Somebody recalls something, somebody reveals something or maybe a body is discovered in a field – some hunter’s dogs finds bones or something like that.

“So, I like to keep the faith. I hope something positive will come and I think it will.”

Gardaí say the investigation into the disappearance of Annie McCarrick remains open and active.

Larry Murphy

The convicted rapist, Larry Murphy, from Co Wicklow, remains a person of interest in her disappearance.

Murphy was jailed for 15 years for the abduction, rape and attempted murder of a woman in February 2000. He was released in 2010 after serving 10 and a half years behind bars, and is now believed to be living in the UK.

The Wicklow carpenter has been ruled out of involvement in the cases of other missing women including Ciara Breen, Fiona Pender and Fiona Sinnott.

But the Garda’s Operation Trace that was set up to investigate the disappearance concluded that there was circumstantial evidence linking him to the disappearances of both Jo Jo Dullard, Annie McCarrick and Deride Jacob.

Ms Jacob (18) was last seen near her home, at Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, at around 3pm on July 28, 1998.

Earlier that day, she had left home at around 1pm to go to Newbridge. She was seen at the AIB bank on Main Street at 2.20pm before crossing the street and going to the post office at 2.30pm.

The last CCTV footage of her was recorded from an Irish Permanent office on Main Street as she walked back in the direction of her home.

Ms Jacob's disappearance was treated officially by gardaí as a missing persons case until August 2018, when it was formally upgraded to a murder investigation.

The decision to reclassify the case followed the emergence of new information, which led to gardaí opening up fresh lines of inquiry.

Deirdre Jacob disappeared in July 1998.

It was while he was serving his 10 year sentence, mainly in Arbour Hill Prison that it is suspected Murphy confessed to murdering Ms Jacob to another inmate while intoxicated on "prison hooch".

Murphy became a person of interest after it emerged he had visited the shop owned by Ms Jacob's grandmother.

CCTV footage from the day of Ms Jacob's disappearance has been digitised, resulting in new witnesses being identified from the clearer video.

During an interview with gardaí while in prison, Murphy denied any involvement in her disappearance.

Gardaí travelled to Britain in 2018 and, in the company of the London Metropolitan police, attempted to interview Murphy, but he refused to answer questions.

Investigators have followed 3,500 lines of inquiry, gathered more than 2,000 statements and conducted numerous searches for the missing student since 1998.

A major search operation was carried out last year of remote woodland as part of the Deirdre Jacob murder inquiry.

The operation at a site in Taggartstown, Co Kildare, is within 15km of Baltinglass, where convicted rapist Murphy lived at the time of her disappearance.

However, the three-week search operation ended without any new evidence being located.

Last October, the case of Ms Dullard was upgraded to murder. The 21-year-old went missing from Moone in Co Kildare in 1995. She was working in Callan, Co Kilkenny, and had travelled to Dublin on November 9 that year.

She missed the last direct bus home that night so she got a bus to Naas and then hitched two lifts to get to Moone.

While she was in a phone box in Moone telling a friend where she was, a car stopped for her. That was the last anyone heard from her.

The status of the case changed to murder following an examination by the Serious Crime Review Team.

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