Gardaí looking for Aoife Phelan begin digging local garden

Detectives searching for pregnant nanny Aoife Phelan have begun digging ground at the rear of a house in her home town.

Forensic experts are using a mini-digger and shovels as part of the latest search for Aoife centred at an address on Timahoe Road, in Portlaoise, Co Laois.

The sealed-off house was raided last night by investigating gardaí.

The missing 30-year-old childminder, who was four months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, was last seen on Thursday October 25 after meeting a friend in the town.

A 24-year-old local man, believed to be known to Ms Phelan, was arrested yesterday afternoon in relation to her disappearence, and remains in custody at Portlaoise garda station.

He is being held under section four of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, and can be questioned for up to 24 hours.

A Garda press office spokeswoman said: “Searches are ongoing. It is a live investigation.”

Ms Phelan, from Cashel, Ballyroan in Portlaoise, had met a friend at the Borris Road roundabout in the town at about 6.30pm on October 25 and was last seen at 8.10pm that night when she left a friend’s house on Colliers View.

She worked as a live-in nanny at The Hermitage, Portlaoise and was in work until 6.15pm that evening. Her employer raised concerns the next day after she did not return to the house.

Ms Phelan’s family held a candlelit vigil last Friday in the town and prayed for her safe return.

Searches have been carried out at several locations in Portlaoise since Ms Phelan disappeared.

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