The suspected murderer of 24-year-old student Jastine Valdez is having his DNA checked against other missing women cases in Ireland.
Gardaí (Irish police) are believed to be investigating the possibility that suspected murder Mark Hennessy was involved in other missing women cases in Ireland. The 40-year-old, originally from Dublin, was shot dead by armed police on Sunday evening after threatening traffic police with a knife.
The main suspect in the murder of 24-year-old Carlow IT student Jastine Valdez, Hennessy was tracked down by Gardaí after a massive manhunt. A bloodied note was found in his car leaving information on where Valdez’s body could be found.
It is now reported that DNA evidence will be used to determine whether Hennessy could be linked to other cases involving missing women in Ireland, including the disappearance of Long Island native Annie McCarrick, who became a missing person in 1993 while she was living in Dublin.
Other cases that Hennessy’s DNA may be checked against include the disappearance of Fiona Pender, Deirdre Jacob, and Jo Jo Dullard.
“They have to look at where he was and what he was doing around the time when some of those women disappeared,” crime correspondent Paul Reynolds told Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio One.
“He would have been very young for some of the cases, for example in the case of Annie McCarrick who disappeared in 1993, he would have been only 15 years of age.
“But Deirdre Jacob disappeared in 1998 when Mark Hennessy was 20 years of age so they definitely will look at him.
“But they’ll also look at him for more recent attacks on women. They’ll check his DNA and they will have to consider him even if only to rule him out as a suspect in these cases.”
Hennessy was shot on Sunday after being cornered in an industrial estate in south Dublin by Gardaí. He is suspected of abducting Jastine Valdez in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, on Saturday evening. No previous connection between Hennessy and Valdez has been established.
Eyewitnesses report seeing Hennessy’s Nissan Qashqai driving manically around the Puck’s Hill area where Valdez’s body was later found, with thanks to information contained in a note left in the suspect’s car.
Her body was found on Monday evening. It is believed she was strangled although postmortem results have yet to be released.
Evidence has emerged to show that Hennessey went out drinking just hours after the student’s murder.
What do we know about Mark Hennessy? Was Mark Hennessy married and did he have children?
Mark Hennessy was a 40-year-old father of two who lived in Bray, Co. Wicklow. He was married and had two infant daughters. Hennessy also worked as a builder and was originally from Ballybrack, south County Dublin.
Did Mark Hennessy have a previous criminal record?
Hennessy was said to be known to Gardai but did not have a serious criminal record. He was on bail at the time of the murder following a previous drunk driving charge.
He had also been convicted of abusive behavior while intoxicated in a public place and cannabis possession in the late 90s.
Were there any previous suspects in Annie McCarrick’s disappearance?
There are various theories as to the disappearance of Annie McCarrick including the possibility of a serial killer working in the area at the time.
The 26-year-old Irish American was living in Dublin with two female roommates when she went missing in March 1993.
The last unconfirmed sighting of her was at 9pm on March 26 at Johnnie Fox’s Pub in Glencullen.
Her mother was due to arrive for a visit in 1993, but on March 26, days before she was due to arrive, Annie failed to pick up her paycheck from the restaurant where she worked and did not turn up at a dinner party.
Annie's parents immediately suspected something was wrong.
Annie's father, John McCarrick, who has since passed away, stated at the time: "She would never have gone a day without talking to someone. We were very, very concerned."
Serial rapist Larry Murphy was once suspected of being behind McCarrick's disappearance as she was last seen in the "Vanishing Triangle," near Murphy's hometown of Baltinglass, Wicklow.
While serving 10 years of his 15-year sentence for repeated rape and the attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman, Murphy was asked to help the police with inquiries into five other missing women in the Leinster area. He refused to help.