| 5.6°C Dublin

'Huge undertaking' Retired detective says new searches for Jo Jo Dullard and Deirdre Jacob are 'hugely significant'

"I do believe whomever is responsible has shared it, or if not the knowledge, shared their guilt."

Close

Deirdre Jacob disappeared in July 1998

Deirdre Jacob disappeared in July 1998

Deirdre Jacob disappeared in July 1998

A retired garda detective involved in Operation Trace set up to investigate the disappearance of several women including Jo Jo Dullard and Deirdre Jacob, believes whoever was responsible for the disappearance “has shared” the information around their murders recently.

Alan Bailey, who worked on Operation Trace for 13 years and author of Missing Presumed said the large-scale search of Usk Little on the Kildare/Wicklow border after new information has come to garda attention is “hugely significant development.”

Mr Bailey said that the search area, which is up to 50 acres in size “covered in woodland and rough terrain”, straddles the Carlow/Kilcullen motorway, is just “30 kilometres from where Deirdre Jacobs was last seen and 14 kilometres from the Moone phone box where Kilkenny native Jo Jo Dullard last was.”

“I do believe whomever is responsible has shared it or if not the knowledge, shared their guilt. This is a huge undertaking and huge commitment by the gardai .”

Close

Former Detective Sergeant Alan Bailey. Picture by Caroline Quinn

Former Detective Sergeant Alan Bailey. Picture by Caroline Quinn

Former Detective Sergeant Alan Bailey. Picture by Caroline Quinn

It is almost 26 years since 21-year-old Jo Jo, was last seen at approximately 11.37pm on November 9, 1995 when she left the village of Moone, Co Kildare while trying to make her way home to Callan, Co Kilkenny.

A year ago gardaí upgraded the investigation into her disappearance to a murder probe, while this week they renewed their appeal for information.

Ms Jacob disappeared in July 1998, as she made her way towards her home in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Her disappearance was upgraded to murder in 2018.

The highly respected retired detective pointed out that the fresh search will take several weeks and that search methods would have developed over the years and that drones will be used to detail more remote areas.

Speaking on KCLRfm Mr Bailey said:“As a former investigator I would warmly their hugely significant development. Previous searches have stretched to weeks so you are looking at that. It is very late in the year and the days are short so it will be weeks.

"Hopefully they will find something please God. Drones help to map and make sure everywhere is searched. Gardaí would not undertake this lightly.

“This search is no different than the others only that it is a hopeful development due to very recently received information. Hopefully something will come out of it. The families have had so many false dawns and time and time again the families have been disappointed.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Convicted rapist Larry Murphy remains the chief suspect in the murder of Ms Jacob. Murphy initially became a person of interest to detectives after it emerged he had visited the shop owned by her grandmother.

It is 21 years since young Carlow businesswoman was abducted, raped and almost murdered by Murphy.

Mr Bailey added: “Larry Murphy remains a person of interest in his modus operandi but it’s important that (authorities) don’t put (their) eggs all in one basket. Hopefully they will find relevant information that may affect both cases.”

Last year speaking from her home just outside Callan, Kathleen Bergin, Ms Dullard’s older sister said: “We want to find her (Jo Jo) with all our being but it has been very tough at times. In the early years I found it difficult to visit the plaque that was put up in Moone, where Jo Jo was last seen.

Close

A memorial at the last known spot where Jo Jo Dullard was seen in Moone, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

A memorial at the last known spot where Jo Jo Dullard was seen in Moone, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

A memorial at the last known spot where Jo Jo Dullard was seen in Moone, Co Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

“At times I found it difficult to speak about Jo Jo but I never gave up looking for answers and trying to bring Jo Jo home.

“It has been physically and mentally draining on all of us for so long and being honest we have been living on autopilot for a lot of theses years.

“It devastated them (Kathleen’s late sister Mary and Tom her late brother) and made them heartbroken. Mary kept saying she didn’t do enough to find Jo Jo even in her final days, but she honestly couldn’t have done anymore. Mary accepted that Jo Jo was never going to be coming home alive again, before I did, but she gave her life to finding Jo Jo again.

“I think of my own children and I don’t want them to carry on that burden of having to keep looking for Jo Jo and hoping that she will be able to complete her journey home. This has been such a weight on our shoulders and I and they don’t want to be here in the same position 20 years from now.

“What has happened to Jo Jo has had a horrendous effect on all of our immediate and extended family as well as friends. We have all dealt with her disappearance and now her acknowledged murder in our own ways and I don’t know how we get through it at times. It would be such a relief to bring her remains home”.

Jo Jo was the youngest of five siblings and now just two are alive, Kathleen and her sister Nora who with their extended families continue to search for her.

Close

November will mark the twenty fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Jo Jo Dollard.

November will mark the twenty fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Jo Jo Dollard.

November will mark the twenty fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Jo Jo Dollard.

When speaking about the upgrading of her sister being classed as a missing person to that of being murdered, Kathleen revealed she had “accepted” that she had been taken in a violent way a long time ago.

“It is bittersweet that Jo Jo is now classed as being a murdered person but it does give the gardai more power to arrest individuals and more resources. I think Mary and Tom would be happy with this. The gardai are working very closely with us now.

Mrs Bergin added that she believes the family is the “closest it has ever been’” to finding Jo Jo but that “we are all trying not to get our hopes up too much and “but we really do hope we will be lucky this time.

“Jo Jo has missed so many milestones in her life and in all of ours. I do know that there are people out there who have been afraid to come forward due to whatever pressures they have been under."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy