| 3.1°C Dublin

Gardai search No evidence found in search for missing Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard, gardaí confirm

'Nothing of evidential value to these investigations was recovered'


Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard

Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard

Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard

The search of wooded area in Co Kildare for missing women Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard has been completed, gardai have said, with no evidence having been uncovered. 

Gardai said they are continuing to keep the families involved updated on the progress of these investigations, however “nothing of evidential value to these investigations was recovered” they added.

“While the search has been completed, Gardaí remain at the scene to complete necessary site works on these private lands,” they said in a statement issued this afternoon.

The search party included up to 15 gardaí, members of the Garda National Technical Bureau and an excavator.

“During the course of the search the remnants of a previously undiscovered historical settlement were identified and the National Monuments Service have been notified,” gardai said.


Deirdre Jacob

Deirdre Jacob

Deirdre Jacob

This is a reference to the unexpected archaeological discovery of what appears to be a settlement dating back to more than 500 years BC.

Debris found during the search has been set aside for potential forensic examination once the excavation of the area has finished.

A specialist garda and forensic team had been searching the wooded site after a witness reported seeing unusual activity there on the day Deirdre disappeared in July 1998.

Gardaí decided to search the area which spans three to four acres after re-interviewing a witness who reported unusual activity at the wood on the same day.

The 18-year-old vanished in broad daylight while walking home to her parents’ house on the outskirts of Newbridge.

The witness saw a car with the boot open reversing on a disused and overgrown road beside the wood at around tea-time on the same day.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Deirdre was last seen at around 3pm in Newbridge, about 15 kilometres from the search area at Brewel East. The witness has been on site, helping the garda search team to locate the exact spot where he saw the car.

Deirdre’s disappearance was upgraded to murder two years ago. Larry Murphy, a convicted rapist now living in the UK, is the chief suspect for her murder.

Gardaí are awaiting direction from the Director of Public Prosecution on whether he can be charged with the crime.

They will assess all of the materials gathered at a case conference once the search draws to a close to decide what items merit forensic examination.

Deirdre's disappearance occurred less than three years after Jo Jo Dullard, the other missing woman, disappeared in Moone on November 9, 1995.

We recently revealed how a truck-driver told gardaí he saw a woman running 'naked and screaming' through the Kildare village of Moone on the night of Jo Jo was last seen.

The sighting was 9km from Usk ­Little, the site of the dig for the remains of Deirdre Jacob.

Sources have confirmed the driver made a statement to the Garda Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) at Naas Garda station in November last year and the sighting was accepted as credible by investigators.

The Sunday World learned how the driver visited Moone in the hours prior to giving the statement to refamiliarise himself with the geography of the Co Kildare village before driving to Naas Garda station.

A woman who spoke to him told Sunday World he approached her looking for the area of the Jo Dullard memorial.


Garda officers search the woodland at Usk Litte

Garda officers search the woodland at Usk Litte

Garda officers search the woodland at Usk Litte

"It had been removed at the time because they were doing up the road," she said. "He didn't know exactly where it was, so he asked me. I walked down and I showed him and I asked him: 'Did you know her or something? Were you a relative?'

"And he said: 'No. Twenty-five years ago, I was passing through here at 11 o'clock at night with the boss in a truck'.

He told her: "I was only a chap at the time and there was a woman there running ­naked in the street, screaming!" He said that they pulled up and the boss got out and he ran after her. "But the more he went after her the more she ran."

The driver told the woman that after his boss failed to help the screaming woman, he phoned gardaí from a phone box in Moone.

"He said they told him: 'Don't worry, it'll be grand, we'll send a car out'," the woman said. "And he said about three days later Jo Jo Dullard was missing, so they went to give a statement.

"But the gardaí said it was a different woman altogether because Jo Jo Dullard had been seen in Castledermot afterwards.

"He said in all of the years this was the first day he'd been asked to give a statement since that time. He was going to Naas that day to give gardaí a statement.

"He was very honest and very genuine. "


JoJo Dullard

JoJo Dullard

JoJo Dullard

A source confirmed to the Sunday World that the Serious Crime Review Team had taken a statement from the man at Naas Garda station.

"In June of last year, Garda announced the probe into Jo Jo Dullard's disappearance had been upgraded to murder," the source told the Sunday World.

"As part of that investigation, gardaí have been going back over previous statements and going out to talk to people who had made statements at the time.

"It would appear that was what was happening last November. And this statement that a woman had been seen running naked through the village of Moone is now something that is being looked at again."

As the searches got underway, Jo Jo’s sister Kathleen Bergin said their thoughts and prayers were with Deirdre’s family as they hoped they find her.

“We’re just trying to get through these few days, we’re anxious, but hopeful” she told KCLR Live recently.

"I suppose there's not a day that goes by that Jo Jo is not in our thoughts.

"The sense of loss has been very hard to come to terms with. It has had a huge effect on her family and her friends and has caused a lot of pain and suffering over the years.

"It’s hard to believe she’ll be gone 26 years next November, but we have to hang onto hope,” she added.

“We always try and hang on to that hope that someday we will find her.

"You often hear about other cases, say after 20 or 30 years or more and the next thing somebody comes forward with a little piece of information and they have their answers, they find their loved ones and the case is solved.

"So that little bit of hope is there.”

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