Dundalk Co. Louth
Park Street Dundalk
Gardi search a local bog
Ciara Breen was a normal 17 year old finding her way in life in the large town of Dundalk some fifty miles north of Dublin in the border county of Louth, when she vanished from her hometown during the winter of 1997. Ciara was last seen going to bed on the night of 13th of February by her mother Bernadette Breen at 12:25 am, at their home in an area known as Bachelor’s Walk. The evening Ciara went missing was just a normal Thursday; she had dinner with her mother at the Roma restaurant on Park Street Dundalk and returned home to watch Bad Boys before going to bed.
After going to bed it is believed that Ciara decided to sneak out of her home possibly to attend a prearranged meeting with someone, her mother checked on her at 2am and found no sign of Ciara. Bernadette Breen later told the TV crime show Crimecall “I got up at 2am to go to the toilet and I looked in her bedroom and she wasn’t there. She didn’t take any money or clothes with her. It is as if she went to meet somebody and did not get back.” A forensic examination of Ciara’s home found that a ground floor window adjacent to a main road was left open, having been opened from the inside of the house, suggesting that she had left the window open so she could sneak back into the house later that morning. Gardi believed that the fact the window adjacent to the main road was left open suggested that she had arranged to meet someone with a car.
The initial Gardi investigation uncovered through Ciara’s friends that she had in fact been in contact with an older man in the days before her disappearance. This same man was once chased from Ciara’s front garden by her mother who found him talking to Ciara. Bernadette Breen had overheard this man asking Ciara “if she was going with anyone” this obviously raised alarms for Bernadette and she told him to get lost and that he was far too old for her daughter. Friends of Ciara told the Gardi that the suspect had been watching Ciara and the group of teenagers at a fast food restaurant a few days before she vanished. This was not the first time he had been spotted by the teenagers watching them, he had also approached them previously and was widely seen as a creep by the youngsters. Whilst in the fast food restaurant the suspect was seen in deep conversation with Ciara by her friends, the same friends over heard the suspect asking Ciara “if he could see her later” and she replied “I’ll sneak out of my house when my mother goes to bed.”
According to Ciara’s friends she regularly snuck out of her house late at night. Gardi have since rechecked this story with Ciara’s friends and their account has remained the same as it did in 1997, leaving Gardi with little reason to doubt their account of these disturbing events.
Despite having some ‘normal’ teenage problems in the years before her disappearance Ciara had largely calmed down and was settled by the summer of 1996, she had once ran away from home to Northern Ireland, but returned home to Dundalk of her own accord a few days later with a female friend. By the time Ciara vanished during February of 97' she had enrolled in a local education centre in the hope of developing skills that would help her find employment in the furure. Ciara was described by her tutor Rosaline Bishop as shy, not streetwise, but not gullible and had a trusting nature. Such traits could well have made Ciara a target for an older predator, disturbingly the Gardi investigation found that a local group of paedophiles had been operating in the Dundalk area at the time of Ciara’s disappearance.
It is widely believed by the Gardi that Ciara fell victim to a local person from the Dundalk area; Dundalk is a border town on the Republic side of Ireland, which was regularly used for I.R.A activity during the 1990’s for purposes such as smuggling, the concealing of illegal weapons and a hiding place for individuals wanted in connection to crimes in Northern Ireland. The town was widely seen as lawless and was known locally as El Paso. This is not the type of town a stranger would chose to abduct a teenage girl from and such a predator would almost definitely stand out to locals if he was trying to groom teenage girls in the area. No reports of any sightings of such a predator was ever reported to Gardi, nor did they find any evidence of a suspect from outside of the town of Dundalk.
According to the Irish Independent a man who died whilst in Gardi custody in 2017 was the chief suspect in relation to the disappearance of Ciara Breen. The newspaper named the man as Liam Mullen who was 55 years of age at the time of his death on the 6th of July 2017. Mullen was also from Bachelor’s Walk Dundalk Co. Louth and would have been 35 years of age at the time of Ciara’s disappearance.
No trace of Ciara has ever been found, according to sources for the Irish Independent if Ciara’s body was ever found Mullen would have been charged in relation to her murder. Mullen was arrested in 1999 and later in 2015, but was never charged with any crimes.