Deirdre Jacob, pictured here with her pet labradors, has been missing from Newbridge since 1998
Gardai have upgraded the investigation into the disappearance of Deirdre Jacob to a murder investigation.
The move is based on new information received by gardai.
Speaking today at Naas Garda Station, Chief Superintendent Brian Sutton said; "Deirdre Jacob was 18 years of age when she was last seen on 28 July 1998 as she walked to her home in Newbridge, Co Kildare. She was a young woman starting off her life, who had just completed one year at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London. Deirdre had enjoyed her life in London and was looking forward to returning to college that September when her life was taken away on or after the 28th July 1998.
"This 20-year-old investigation has been reviewed in detail by Gardaí from Kildare and from the Serious Crime Review Team over the last 12 months. As a result of this review and new information that has been received, An Garda Síochána have re-classified the disappearance of Deirdre Jacob from a Missing Person investigation to a Murder investigation."
He said the investigation team are following a number of lines of enquiry and progress is being made on the investigation.
"I wish to appeal to any person with information in relation to the murder of Deirdre Jacob to come forward, particularly persons who have not come forward in the past," he added.
"The investigation team can be contacted at Kildare Garda Station, 045 521222 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.”
Deirdre was last seen near her home, at Roseberry at approximately 3 pm on the day in question.
There has been a 20-year investigation into Deirdre’s disappearance during which significant enquiries were carried out to establish her whereabouts and to investigate the circumstances in which she disappeared.
The murder investigation is being conducted by Gardai from the Kildare Garda District with the support of the Serious Crime Review Team. An incident room has been set up at Kildare Garda Station.
It's understood gardai are focusing on a particular chief suspect as part of the investigation.