Co Kildare Gardai renew appeals for information on Jo Jo Dollard's disappearance in Moone

This Monday marks twenty years since the disappearance of 21-year-old Jo Jo Dollard who was last reported at a phone box in Moone, Co Kildare. Gardai in Co Kildare are renewing a fresh appeal for information. A spokesperson in Athy Garda station revealed that an investigation is ongoing in the county regarding  the disappearance of this woman, along with 18-year-old Deirdre Jacob who vanished at the gateway of her house in Newbridge,  in July 1998. Gardai are urging anyone with information to come forward, no matter how small they may think it is. Josephine Dollard has been missing since 11.30 p.m. on Thursday, 9th November, 1995. At precisely that time, Jo Jo phoned her friend from a phone box in Moone, Co. Kildare.  This was the last time anyone heard from her.  Jo Jo told her friend that she was hitching a lift from Moone to her home in Callan, Co. Kilkenny. A short time later a woman answering Jo Jo’s description was seen leaning in the back door of a dark coloured Toyota Carina type car.  The driver or occupants of this Toyota Carina type car have never came forward or been traced.  There were further sightings of a woman similar to Jo Jo, thumbing for a lift in Castledermot, Co. Kildare, which is five miles from Moone at around 11:55pm on the same evening, which would indicate that she did get a lift from Moone at around 11:40pm. When she never reached her destination, JoJo’s family became concerned and reported her missing. Gardai received reports from the first two drivers who gave JoJo a lift ,one from outside the Garda Station in Naas to Kilcullen, and the next from Kilcullen to Moone.  The driver who left her in Moone says he left her at the phonebox there, which was well lit-up and where she intended to call her friend, but the driver or occupants from Moone to Castledermot have never came forward. Despite an extensive search of the area, there was no sign of Jo Jo and there was no sign of a struggle along the roadside in Moone.  Detectives vigorously pursued the Toyota Carina car and although nothing came of this, it continues to be a major line of inquiry to this day. In February 1997, fifteen months after JoJo’s disappearance, information came to the Gardaí that JoJo might have been taken, against her will, a further 15 miles south, as far as Co.Waterford. A taxi driver contacted the Gardaí reporting that at about 1:20am on the morning of 10th November 1995 he was driving along the main road at Kilmacow, three miles north of Waterford, when he saw a red car, with English number-plates parked at the side of the road.  He said that one man was urinating beside the car and suddenly a woman ran from the left-hand rear door of the car towards the front.  She was bare-foot and seemed distressed.  Then a second man appeared from the back of the car, and he followed the woman, grabbed her by the hair, got her in a bear-hug and then dragged her back to the car.  They then took off in the direction of Waterford. The taxi driver said that this all happened in a matter of seconds as he was driving past the car.  The Gardai believe these men to be Irish.  A further witness report outlines the story of a girl matching Jo Jo’s description who was seen in apparent distress, also in Waterford around 2a.m. to 2:30am that same night.  This deeply disturbing report has never been resolved. The Jo Jo Dollard Memorial Trust was established in 1998, set up by her sister Mary Phelan and her husband Martin Phelan with the assistance of TD John McGuinness. Together, they have campaigned for years for the establishment of a specialist Missing Persons Unit in Ireland.  During her tireless campaign, Mary Phelan organised a Missing Person’s Day on 26th May 2002. To mark the occasion, a National Monument for Missing People was unveiled in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle.  A small monument to commemorate Jo Jo stands beside the phone box in Moone.    

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