Irish police investigating disappearance of women in 1990s find no remains after searching woods

Irish police investigating the disappearance of Deirdre Jacob and several other women in the 1990s have found no remains after searching a wooded area in County Kildare.

Officers said their search of the “area of interest” was now complete and that “nothing of evidential value to these investigations was recovered”.

Families of the women continue to be updated on the progress of the investigations, police said.

Gardai (Irish police) remain at the scene to “complete necessary site works on these private lands”, the force said.

During the course of the search, the remnants of a historical settlement were discovered and the National Monuments Service was notified.

Deirdre Jacob, who was training to be a teacher at a London university, disappeared while walking home from shops in Newbridge, Co Kildare, on 28 July 1998.

Several searches failed to find any trace of the 18-year-old.

A review led to her case being upgraded to a murder investigation in 2018, and police said a report of “unusual activity” on the night Ms Jacob went missing led to the new search of a remote woodland area near Usk Little.

Gardai technical experts led the search, which involved ground-penetrating radar and a forensic archaeologist.

The site, in a rural area, measured more than three acres.

Inspector John Fitzgerald, who led the search, said at the outset about two weeks ago that it was a “significant development”, but that police were “keen to manage expectations” as to what, if anything, they would find.

Police looked for clues relevant to other missing women from the 1990s.

At least six young women disappeared in the Leinster area during the decade.

Earlier this year, one of those cases, that of missing 21-year-old JoJo Dullard, was also upgraded to a murder investigation following a review.

She disappeared in 1995 from Moone, Co Kildare, just 10 minutes from the new search site.

She had been travelling home from Dublin, but decided to hitch a lift after she missed the last bus.

Insp Fitzgerald said there was no “direct link” to the Dullard case, but that Gardai were “mindful” that the area was close by.

Police have said they were looking for human remains, clothing or any other evidence that could help progress not just the Deirdre Jacob investigation but any of the other missing women cases.

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