A US lawyer and ex-FBI agent are set to take ‘one last roll of the dice’ at solving the notorious cold case of American tourist Annie McCarrick who disappeared in Ireland in 1993.
Annie McCarrick, 26, from New York, was last seen taking a bus to Enniskerry on March 26, 1993 after telling a friend she planned to go to the Wicklow Mountains for the day.
Michael Griffith, a lawyer her father John hired in 1993, has now joined forces with Kenneth Strange, a former FBI agent, and Annie’s uncle, John Covell, as well as an Irish private investigator, Brian McCarthy, to try to solve the mystery of what happened to her.
Investigators have previously worked off the theory that Annie visited Johnnie Fox’s pub in the Dublin mountains where a woman matching her description was seen in the company of man wearing a waxed jacket, who has never been identfied.
But now Mr Griffith says the team have uncoveried a witness statement which places Annie in a cafe in Enniskerry rather than at the pub, and have identified ‘one main suspect’ as a result.
The lawyer, who has previously said the case ‘haunts’ him, told the Herald: ‘It’s a cold case. We think if we put our heads together we can resurrect this case and solve it. One last roll of the dice.’
A US lawyer and ex-FBI agent are set to take ‘one last roll of the dice’ at solving the notorious cold case of American tourist Annie McCarrick, 26, who disappeared in Ireland in 1993 (pictured)
He explained: ‘We plan to come later in the year and I’m confident that we can solve this.’
The private investigator believes the statement, which was given to gardai at the time, could put an entirely new timeline on the case.
Annie was born in Long Island but moved to Ireland in 1987 and began studying in Dublin.
She went back to America in 1990 to get a master’s degree, but returned to Ireland in January 1993 to settle.
During an interview in 2016, her mother Nancy told RTÉ’s Crimecall programme: ‘When she found Ireland, her whole life really changed.’
Annie left her apartment in Dublin on March 26 to spend the day at Wicklow Mountains, going alone after inviting a friend to go with her.
After she was spotted that afternoon getting the bus to Glencullen, there was an alleged sighting of someone matching her description at Johnnie Fox’s Pub.
The woman spoke with a man who was in his twenties and wearing a waxed jacket, who has never been identified.
After the alleged sighting at the pub, Annie was never heard or seen again, with many people believing she had been murdered – but the case has never been solved.
The alarm was raised when Annie did not show up at a part-time cafe job the following day to collect her wages, and failed to go to a dinner party.
The American team now believe Annie was not at Johnnie Fox’s Pub, in the village of Glencullen, as previously believed.
Instead, they have identified a new ‘prime suspect’ after becoming aware of a witness statement given to gardai in 1993.
The US team believe they have identified a ‘prime suspect’ after uncovering a witness statement from someone alleging they saw Annie with a man in a cafe in Enniskerry
Mr McCarthy believes they have now identified a new suspect whom they think Annie was with in a cafe in Enniskerry.
The witness, who has since died, alleged that Annie had been in the cafe with a man who fit the description of a suspect McCarthy has identified.
Mr McCarthy called the sighting ‘more crucial than initially thought’.
There have been several attempts to uncover the person behind Annie’s disappearance.
In 2010, the Irish Mail on Sunday revealed sensational evidence linking freed rapist Larry Murphy to another disappearance in the area, that of college student Deirdre Jacob, who disappeared in July 1998.
Trainee teacher Deirdre was one of three women, along with Annie and 21-year-old Jo Jo Dullard, who went missing in the area before Murphy was convicted in 2000 of the abduction, rape and attempted murder of a woman in the Wicklow Mountains.
Gardaí have carried out extensive investigations into the disappearances but so far have had no breakthrough in solving them.
In 2008, the Garda brought a team of FBI agents to Ireland to review the evidence they had accumulated.
These experienced profilers, who specialise in investigating serial killers in the United States, concluded that the unknown killers matched the Murphy profile.
Meanwhile in 2014, retired detective sergeant Alan Bailey claimed that a member of the Provisional IRA may have killed her.
At the time, he told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke programme that the American student met the IRA man, to whom he gave a fictional name Manus Dunne, at Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen in the Dublin mountains.
Mr Bailey said that he ‘started bragging about different exploits’, naming colleagues before ‘realising the enormity of what he had done.’
The retired detective sergeant wrote that Manus offered a lift into town but ‘drove her up the mountains where he killed her and concealed her body behind some bushes’.
He said the information from a ‘very reliable source’, was a story that ‘needs to be checked out’.
Meanwhile in 2018, police in Ireland began investigating whether a married father-of-two shot dead after murdering a student had been involved in Annie’s killing.
Mark Hennessy, 40, was killed by officers hunting for missing Jastine Valdez, 24, near Dublin on Sunday before her body was discovered.
Garda sources told the Irish Times that Hennessy’s DNA profile would be checked against historic and recent disappearances to see if he is a serial killer.
As part of that review, officers reexamined the infamous Vanishing Triangle cases of the 1990s, where a series of young women disappeared without trace over the course of five years, to see if Hennnessy could be responsible.
The victims include Annie McCarrick alongside Fiona Pender, Deirdre Jacob, Jo Jo Dullard, Fiona Sinnott, Eva Brennan and Ciara Breen.
Hennessy would have been aged just 16 when Annie disappeared in 1993, but her case is still being included in the review.
Ireland’s Vanishing Triangle
In 1993, America-born Annie McCarrick disappeared while living in Dublin. Her case was the first of several that would become known as the Vanishing Triangle disappearances.
In each case, a young or middle-aged woman vanished suddenly from the eastern part of Ireland and no trace of them was ever found.
Police officially linked six of the disappearances and launched a joint investigation called Operation Trace in 1998, before the crimes stopped.
All six of those cases are being reexamined using Hennessy as a potential suspect. The women are:
1. Annie McCarrick. Born in New York in 1966, she lived there until relocating to Ireland in 1987. At the time she vanished she was living in the Dublin area.
The last confirmed sighting of her was in Enniskerry. McCarrick was later reported drinking at a pub in Glencullen with a man who has never been identified. She has not been heard from since.
2. Jo Jo Dullard. Born in 1974 in Callan, Jo Jo was also living in Dublin around the time of her disappearance. She was travelling from Dublin to Callan in July 1993 when she vanished.
Jo Jo made a phone call from a payphone in Moone and witnesses said she was later seen leaning on the back of a dark coloured Toyota, talking to someone inside. The car and driver were never traced. She remains missing.
3. Fiona Pender. A life-long resident of Tullamore, where she was born in 1971, Fiona went missing in August 1996 while seven months pregnant.
She was last seen leaving home by her boyfriend. In 2008 a small cross bearing her name was found along the The Slieve Bloom Way, but her body has never been recovered.
4. Fiona Sinnott. Born in Rosslare, Fiona was living in nearby Broadway when she vanished in 1998 at the age of 19. She was the mother of an 11-month-old.
The last confirmed sighting of her was at a pub with friends, which she left around midnight accompanied by ex-partner Sean Carroll, the father of her daughter. He says he slept on her sofa, and when he left the next morning she was in bed planning a trip to the doctor.
5. Ciara Breen. She was living with her mother in Dundalk when she vanished in 1998, aged 17. Her mother recalls the pair going to bed around midnight before she got up to use the bathroom around 2am and found Ciara gone.
Ciara’s window was open and left on the latch, suggesting she planned to return, but she never did.
6. Deidre Jacob. The Newbridge native was studying in Twickenham, London, at the time she vanished but had returned home for the summer.
She was spotted within just yards of her parents’ house by multiple witnesses, but never made it home.
A seventh case, not included in Operation Trace but often referenced alongside the disappearances, is that of Eva Brennan.
Eva vanished in July 1993 shortly after a family lunch in Terenure, Dublin. She was depressed prior to her disappearance.
She was known to visit her parents every day but failed to show on the next two occasions, so her father went to her home and found her gone. She has not been seen since.
None of the Vanishing Triangle women have ever been found so investigators have very little evidence to link the crimes, save geographical area and the suddenness of their disappearance.
One potential suspect touted in the past was Larry Murphy, who was jailed for the rape and attempted murder of a young woman in Carlow in 2001.
Murphy had kidnapped the woman, put her in the boot of his car and taken her to the Wicklow Mountains where she was repeatedly raped.
He then tried to strangle the victim to death but two hunters happened upon the scene, saved the woman, and helped identify Murphy as the attacker, leading to his arrest.
Murphy has been questioned over the Vanishing Triangle cases but has always denied being connected with any of them.