'Significant progress' in search for body of Dundalk teenager missing for over 18 years

'Significant progress' in search for body of Dundalk teenager missing for over 18 years

POLICE in Ireland have made “significant” progress in the renewed search for the body of a missing Dundalk teenager who was last seen over 18 years ago.

Garda began searching bog land in the Dundalk area on Tuesday for Ciara Breen, who was 17 years old when she disappeared.

Breen was last seen in her home on Bachelor’s Walk, Dublin by her mother Bernadette in the early hours of the morning on February 13, 1997.

An extensive police investigation at the time failed to locate her.

Ms Breen’s mother recalls that the pair had both gone to bed soon after midnight.

“I got up at 2am to go to the toilet and I looked in [her bedroom] and she wasn’t there. She didn’t take any money or clothes with her. It is as if she went to meet somebody and did not get back.”

Garda are searching an area known as Balmer’s Bog, a marshland area near the Ardee Road in Dundalk.

The search is covering an extensive area and could take weeks.

18/08/2015. Garda Search Operation Dundalk 18th Au

Detective Inspector Pat Marry, the lead investigator of the search, remained confident when he addressed a media briefing at Dundalk Police Station on Tuesday.

“We have made very significant progress,” he said.

A Dundalk man in his 50s was arrested in April in connection with her disappearance but was released without charge.

He was known to Ms Breen but is not related to her.

Last year, two witnesses came forward with potential sightings of Ms Breen and police also received two anonymous letters with information about the case.

In the aftermath of Ms Breen’s disappearance Garda set up Operation Trace to establish whether it was linked with similar cases in the Leinster area.

To date none of the women’s bodies have been found and no one has been charged with their disappearances.