Derry Journal

Derry Man In Appeal For Missing Daughter

Friday 5th November 2004

A Derry man yesterday made an emotional appeal for help in tracing his daughter who has gone missing while backpacking in Australia.

Hugh O'Gara, originally from Westland Terrace in Derry but now living in Bolton, England, and a brother of the late Fr. Tom O'Gara, flew to Sydney to help the search for daughter, Melody who vanished 10 days ago.

Mr. O'Gara, whose family still live in Derry, appeared at a press conference in Sydney along with his son Kevin.

Melody O'Gara (28) disappeared from a friend's house in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and has not been seen since.

She failed to board two prebooked flights and has not been in contact with any friends or family.

Mr O'Gara described his daughter as a "very special person who lived fast and enjoyed everything".

In an emotional plea to Melody following his long journey this week, Mr O'Gara said: "Whatever it is, if you have troubles or anything, we can get them sorted. Hundreds of people will help you Melody - not just a few, hundreds. Your mum is a bit fragile at the minute and she wants to hear from you."

Mr O'Gara said flying to Australia to look for his daughter was the "worst thing I have ever done in my life".

Australian police have been forced to dismiss two strong leads in the case.

Supt Steve Cullen said reports that Miss O'Gara had logged on to a computer at an internet cafe three days after she disappeared had proved incorrect. And a 70-year-old man who said he saw a woman matching Miss O'Gara's description on the Bondi beach to Tamarama coastal walk last week could not positively identify her.

Miss O'Gara's handbag, containing personal items, was found by a security guard at Marks Park, close to where the man said he had seen her.

Supt Cullen said police were "exceptionally" worried. "When somebody doesn't use their mobile phone, access their bank accounts or contact their parents after the media interest we've had in this particular matter, we're most concerned for her safety," he said.

Miss O'Gara, who grew up in Bolton, had been expected to head home to London after the holiday.

She had arrived on a one-year working visa in January and had spent some time travelling along the east coast and Melbourne.

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