The mother of a woman who has been missing from Offaly for more than 20 years has passed away.
Josephine Pender, the mother of Fiona Pender, who disappeared from Tullamore on August 23 1996, has died following a lengthy battle with illness today, according to independent.ie.
Ms Pender disappeared from her flat on Church Street in Tullamore more than 21 years ago, and she was seven months pregnant at the time she vanished. There have been numerous searches carried out in the intervening years, but no major breakthroughs have been made in the case.
Fiona's brother died in a motorcycle crash in 1995 and her father, Sean, took his own life in 2000.
Josephine continued her campaign for information in the years following her daughters disappearance, and her latest appeal came on the 21st anniversary of Fiona going missing.
Monsignor Sean Heaney, who is based in the Tullamore parish, paid tribute to Mrs Pender following her death.
"Josephine became a national figure in her campaign to find the remains of her daughter Fiona and her unborn child who disappeared in 1n 1996. Her determination and single mindedness has been an inspiration to many people who are similarly tortured by the unsolved mystery of the disappearance of a loved family member.
"In all her suffering Josephine was sustained by a strong faith in God, and a belief that the mystery will eventually be solved. In all her distraction Josephine had a huge capacity to show warmth and respect for everyone who supported her in her long drawn out quest for an end to her torment. "
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