THE mother of missing Irish schoolgirl Amy Fitzpatrick has returned to work in the past week to earn money in order to avoid being evicted from her Spanish home after failing to meet mortgage repayments.
Audrey Fitzpatrick said she was in danger of losing her home after the family fell €38,000 in arrears on repayments for the property in Mijas, southern Spain as she and her partner have only just returned to work since Amy disappeared 19 months ago.
"The Irish government asked the bank here to put the mortgage repayments on hold for a year or so to give us breathing space. Legally, the bank is in the right but we hoped that morally, they might give us a break," she told the Sunday Tribune.
"We haven't paid the mortgage since Amy went missing. Every penny has gone into the campaign to try and find her. Both myself and my partner Dave Mahon stopped working when Amy went missing 19 months ago. Dave returned to work a few weeks ago and I've just gone back to work myself in the last few days. We are trying to get back to a bit of normality."
She added that she was "hopeful" the family would be able to meet the next mortgage payment as the idea that Amy should arrive home and the family had moved was a terrifying prospect.
Her partner Dave Mahon runs the business 'Mahon Estates' in nearby Calahonda and Audrey works with her partner renting and selling accommodation in the area. The office had been based at their home but the couple are now renting an office in the town.
"We are hoping to make the next mortgage repayment. The campaign to find Amy will not stop in any way though. The office is for the business but it's also the headquarters in the search for Amy. The first thing I do every day I go there is check the emails received on the missingamy.com website," added Fitzpatrick.
"The [Spanish police] have been fantastic. They told us from the beginning that the hardest cases to solve are those of missing persons but we will not give up."
Police in Malaga are handling the investigation and Audrey and her partner have a monthly meeting with them in which they keep them up to speed on their investigation but there are "no fresh leads at the moment", she said.
Fifteen-year-old Amy disappeared on New Year's Day 2008 after she left a friend's house to walk home along an unlit path she used as a short cut.
Audrey and her partner have engaged a private detective agency to help investigate Amy's disappearance but it has not found any new leads. Amy's father, Christopher Fitzpatrick, has also enlisted the services of a private investigator.