Bernie and Michael Jacob, pictured at Naas Garda Station for a press conference and appeal to mark the 20th anniversary of their daughter's disappearance
“Last Tuesday (week), Deirdre’s case was upgraded from a missing persons to a murder case. When you hear those cold words of ‘murder’ across the airwaves it’s very hard to take it in. You know it’s coming, yet it is still a shock, even though we were well aware of what was going to happen.”
These are the words of Michael Jacob, father of missing Newbridge woman Deirdre, speaking to the Leader the week after her 20-year-old disappearance case was upgraded from a missing persons to a murder inquiry. Gardai now believe that Deirdre was killed on the day she disappeared, July 28, 1998, or soon afterwards.
“We have to keep the appeal for information out there as more information has yet to be gathered.
“We know it will be a very slow process. More information has to come in and gardai have to process it. It will be painstaking. It is not that the case is any way near its conclusion, there is still a lot of investigative work that needs to be done.”
A new review of the cold case by Kildare gardai and the Serious Crime Review team began last November.
This work, alongside new information supplied to the gardai around the time of Deirdre’s 20th anniversary appeal on July 28 last, caused gardai to upgrade the case to a murder inquiry.
“We have tried to take it one step at a time,” added Michael. “It is another step as to what may have happened to Deirdre. Around her 20th anniversary appeal some new information came in and that is where it is at — that information needs to be processed and worked through and the case is now classified as a murder investigation.”
According to Michael, Deirdre’s 20th anniversary appeal commanded a lot of attention, but he stressed that “there is more information to be got”.
He said that the information has linked Deirdre to “a number of people and areas”, despite recent widespread media coverage linking her disappearance to one well-known, and formerly Leinster-based, sexual predator in particular.
“There are a number of people of interest,” reiterated Michael. “We don’t suddenly get drawn to any one area. We need to keep a broad look at it, we hope that everyone else looks at it that way. There is always the fear then that we don’t go down another route but a sensational headline will always attract people.
“We have to be cautious and patient. It is still a broad case and it is not pushing in any one single line of inquiry.
“That is the situation with it. We have no idea — it depends on if the information out there is brought forward. We just have to keep appealing to whoever has that shred of information.”
Missing Newbridge woman Deirdre Jacob
In the week since the case was reclassified, the Jacob family’s time has been taken up with media interviews. Michael says they are only now slowly coming to terms with the news.
“The whole week has been taken up with meeting media people. We don’t tend to read what goes out in the media. We give the interview and we try to let ourselves settle down and take a moment.
“We are still desperately searching with the gardai for more information. We need to encourage whoever has the information to let it be known that they will be received with open arms from the gardai who will be very sympathetic to them.
“If you have a piece of information, now couldn’t be a better time to tell the gardai and to get it off your mind.
“We are probably never going to get closure. We want to try and find out what happened to Deirdre as much as we can but we won’t ever get closure.
“We will always have a myriad of questions to ask as to why this happened.
“It will be with us always. We may find out what happened with the case but we will never know why. We are hoping that whoever has the information will see it in their heart to come forward and help us out for our sake and for Deirdre’s.”
If you have any information on the disappearance of Deirdre Jacob, please contact Newbridge Garda Station 045 431212, Crimestoppers on 1800250025 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.