"When she found Ireland, her whole life really changed."
It was the 26th of March 1993. A Friday. Twenty six year old Annie McCarrick had plans for the weekend but on that day, the Friday, she had a free day. Her mother, Nancy, was due to visit in a few days time and she couldn't wait to show her around Ireland.
Annie was from Long Island, New York, United States but had moved to Ireland to live. Annie first arrived in Ireland to study and attend college in 1987. When her college course ended, she returned to the US to do her master's degree but she really wanted to return to Ireland. So in 1993, Annie did just that. She moved to Ireland to live permanently.
Annie loved everything about Ireland. She loved the place, the people, the culture and the history. She loved to learn new things about Ireland and travel around. When she returned to live permanently, she got a part time job as a waitress to help with the rent and moved in with two friends into an apartment at St Catherine’s Court in Sandymount in Dublin.
That Friday morning, the 26th of March, Annie began her day with a bit of knitting. At 11am, she went to the local bank and to buy some groceries from a supermarket called Quinnsworth on the Sandymount Road. When Annie returned home, she left the bag of groceries on the kitchen table in the kitchen. Annie left the apartment again after 3pm and got a bus from Sandymount to Ranelagh. She had told friends that she may spend the afternoon in the Wicklow or Glencullen area.She loved to go for long walks.
When Annie reached Ranelagh,she took the number 44 bus from Ranelagh to Enniskerry. It was around 3.40pm. A work colleague said that they saw her on the bus that day. But that person got off at the Milltown stop, which was a few stops before Enniskerry. So it is not certain that Annie got off the bus at Enniskerry that day. But the last known sighting of Annie was on that number 44 bus that day. It is not known for sure what Annie did next but whatever she did and wherever she went, she never made it home afterwards.
The next day, the Saturday, Annie had made plans to meet friends for dinner. But Annie didn't show up for dinner and didn't call them to let them know she couldn't make it. They tried to contact her but couldn't reach her and didn't know where she was. It was so unlike Annie. She loved to be around people and in social settings. On the Sunday, Annie was due to go to work to collect her pay. She didn't show up at all there either that day. Her friends were worried and they contacted her parents, Nancy and John, in the US to let them know. John said that he knew immediately something was terribly wrong:
"She was always reaching out and touching someone. She would never have gone a day without talking to someone. We were very, very concerned."
John and Nancy were so concerned that they booked the next available flight to Ireland. They needed to find out exactly what happened to Annie. She was reported missing to police in Ireland on the 30th of March. Nancy also made a complaint with the FBI in the US so that an investigation would be launched and some agents from the Behaviour Analysis Unit, BAU, assisted with the case.
A search began and police retraced Annie's movements. If her plan was to go to the Glencullen area and if she got the number 44 bus from Ranelagh to Enniskillen, then she would have had to walk the remainder of the way. There was no bus from Enniskerry to Glencullen. Annie would have had to walk the 6km's to Glencullen if that was where she went to. Or she would have had to accept a ride from someone.
Police received information that a woman fitting Annie's description was seen the night of the 26th of March in Johnnie Fox's pub in the village of Glencullen, high in the Dublin Mountains. That woman was seen with an unidentified man wearing a waxed jacket. The information provided to police was that the woman fitting Annie's description was in the pub between 9pm-11pm.
Police had to try to establish if the woman was Annie and if she got off the bus in Enniskerry and walked the 6km to Johnnie Fox's pub. If that was the case it would have been around 8pm-9pm and it was a very cold, dark and wet night. It's a popular pub, one that attracts both locals and tourists. But was Annie there that night? Nobody ever came forward to say they were the man and woman who were described as being there that night.
Police issued a computer generated sketch of the man seen with the woman fitting Annie's description. The search focused on Enniskerry and the area around Johnnie Fox's pub but nothing was found. The description of the man was that he was in his mid twenties, between 5'9" and 5'10" with dark brown hair. He was wearing a three quarter length coat or jacket that had a waxed look.
Computer generated sketch of the man
Even though Nancy and John moved to Ireland and helped look for their daughter and took part in exhaustive searches, the case eventually went cold. Every few years or so, Annie's case is spoken about especially in relation to other missing women in Ireland but her family still do not know what happened to Annie that night. Sadly, her father John passed away in 2009, not knowing where his daughter was or what happened to her. Nancy continues to search for her daughter and needs to find out what happened. She said that it would be a gift to her family to find out what happened:
"It’s a terrible loss and it’s been a long time, such a very long time. I’m pretty sure, you know, that I’ll never see her again. But I guess my greatest wish would be to be able to take her home. And have a grave that I could go to. So to find out what happened to her really would be a great gift at this point. It really would.”
In 2020, Michael Griffith, a New York based lawyer, said he received details about Annie's case. Michael is from the same area as the McCarricks and when Annie first went missing, he travelled to Ireland with her family to help in the search. He told The Pat Kenny Show, a radio show in Ireland, that he received an email from a person who was very friendly with someone who knew Annie at the time that she went missing. He described the information he received as a very promising lead.
Michael said that he has a witness whose statement places Annie in a cafe with a man in Enniskerry and not at Johnnie Fox's pub. They have identified a main suspect as a result.
Former FBI agent, Kenneth Strange, who is assisting with the case said:
"I believe that this is the work of a serial killer, the geography suggests that. I've heard some other theories - possible involvement by maybe someone from the IRA - but things like that, having worked in the government, and you know as well as I do try to keep a secret is a very difficult thing to do. I think if there was a conspiracy afoot, that information would have gotten out by now. So I think it's closely-guarded by possibly a lone serial killer."
Michael and Kenneth are planning to travel to Ireland later this year to try and find out what happened to Annie and follow up on their lead.
Gardaí at the Serious Crime Review Unit, National Bureau of Crime Investigation, are investigating. Telephone 01 6663344
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