THE mother of missing Irish schoolgirl Amy Fitzpatrick is to continue her search for her daughter by enlisting the help of celebrities.
Fifteen-year-old Amy disappeared on New Year's Day 2008 after she left a friend's house to walk to her home in Mijas, southern Spain, along an unlit path she used as a shortcut. Once a month, Audrey Fitzpatrick and her partner Dave Mahon meet with Spanish police to discuss the girl's disappearance. Since 23 November, there have been five attempted abductions in the area where Amy was last seen, and Audrey plans to discuss this with the police when she meets them on 11 January.
"Some of the attempted abductions were down the road from where Amy disappeared", said Audrey Fitzpatrick, who lit candles at the spot where her daughter disappeared. "It's the same time of year as when Amy disappeared and it's happening again. Is someone coming over here and targeting teenagers? All of them said it was a man who spoke Spanish with an accent," she told the Sunday Tribune. "I'll be talking to the police about it. We have our own private investigators; they are stumped by Amy's disappearance. So are the Guardia Civil [local police force]. They have been very good. At the last few of our monthly meetings, they have apologised to us and said, 'We have nothing.' But we will not give up our campaign. How could we?"
Audrey is now trying to get in touch with the actor Antonio Banderas, who has a holiday home in the same town in Spain, as well as Bono, to ask them if they will highlight the campaign of her daughter's disappearance. "Antonio Banderas is huge here and Bono and U2 are obviously huge all over the world. We are approaching them to ask if they'll get involved to try and raise the profile of the case so that as many people as possible know about Amy," she said.
There has never been a major breakthrough in the investigation. Police and Amy's family initially hoped she had simply run away, but her mother now doubts this is the case since she was extremely close to her family and friends.
Several months ago, a man with an African accent telephoned Audrey to say Amy was in Madrid and that he would provide her with more information if she paid him €500. He did not provide any evidence that he knew where Amy was and Audrey did not pay the man but contacted the police. "It was a hoax. It was a very difficult thing for me to deal with," she said.
Audrey returned to work in August to earn money and try to avoid being evicted from her Spanish home after failing to pay mortgage repayments.
She works with her partner Dave Mahon, who runs the business Mahon Estates, renting and selling accommodation in nearby Calahonda.
"We're in talks with the bank. It's still not a definite that we won't lose the house. I work during the day and at night-time, and weekends I work on the campaign to find Amy."