Sources say convicted rapist Larry Murphy wanted for questioning in relation to missing girl Deirdre Jacob

Irish police have upgraded the missing person case of Kildare native Deirdre Jacob to a murder investigation as sources are naming convicted rapist Larry Murphy as a prime suspect.

On Tuesday August 13, Irish police released a statement: “As a result of new information being received, An Garda Síochána have re-classified the Deirdre Jacob investigation from a missing person investigation to a murder investigation.”

Read More: Irish American Annie McCarrick's disappearance 20 years on, Larry Murphy still a prime suspect

Jacob disappeared from her hometown of Newbridge in Co Kildare in 1998, when she was only 18 years old. Until recently, her twenty year old cold case was being treated as a missing person investigation.

A source told The Independent that convicted rapist Larry Murphy is considered to now be the prime suspect in the disappearance of Deirdre Jacob. Murphy is also a suspect in the disappearance of Annie McCarrick, an American, in Ireland in 1993.

“Larry Murphy is believed to be based in the UK at the moment – if he was to set foot in Ireland, he would be arrested on sight in relation to this investigation,” a senior source told The Independent about the developments in Deirdre Jacob’s case.

“However, there is nowhere near enough evidence yet to issue a European Arrest Warrant for his extradition and a team of eight gardaí are now working full time on this case.”

Murphy was convicted of raping and attempting to kill a woman in the Wicklow mountains in 2000. The woman survived, and Murphy was arrested the day after the incident. Murphy served 10 years of a 15 year sentence in prison and is not believed to be living in Ireland since his release.

Read More: Dublin Jastine Valdez murderer could have links to Irish American cold case

Deirdre Jacob’s disappearance coincides with a number of female disappearances in Leinster in the 90s. The investigation into the group of disappearances, named Operation Trace, included the disappearance of Fiona Sinnott, Josephine Dullard, Ciara Breen, Fiona Pender, and American-born Annie McCarrick. Larry Murphy has been linked to both Annie McCarrick and Josephine ‘Jo-Jo’ Dullard.  

Jacob’s parents, relentless in their efforts to find out what happened to their daughter, are requesting that anyone with any information come forward.

“You always look for a glimmer of hope ...but now with the investigation going in this direction obviously it’s a difficult time,” her father told RTÉ’s News at One.

Deirdre Jacob has been missing since 1998