JoJo Dollard – The girl in the phone box
Josephine Dollard, known as JoJo to her friends and family, was a 5’5, blue eyed, black haired, 21-year-old beautician from Cuffsgrange, Co. Kilkenny. She was the youngest of five children and lost her parents at a very young age, her dad passed away before she was born and her mother when she was 12 years old. JoJo’s sister Kathleen Bergin described JoJo as a tomboy when she was growing up and although having a hard life, JoJo was a lovely polite person.
On 09th November 1995, JoJo was making her way home from Dublin to Callan, Kilkenny. JoJo had travelled to Dublin to sign off from the dole, Ireland’s unemployed benefit scheme, as she had got a job in Graingers’ restaurant in her home town, after previously leaving her beauticians job some time earlier, and was due to start work the next morning.
After missing the direct bus home from Dublin, she took a commuter bus to Naas and began hitching her way home from there. She had been driven to Kilcullen and from there to Moone.
She was last seen making a phone call to her friend, Mary Cullinane, at 11.37pm from a telephone box in the village of Moone, Co. Kildare. She rang her friend to let her know she was having difficulty getting a lift and whilst on that call a car pulled up. A short time later, a woman similar to JoJo’s description was seen leaning in the back door of a dark coloured Toyota Carina type car. The occupants of this car have never been traced.
There was also an unconfirmed sighting of JoJo walking along a road in Castledermot, Co Kildare. Gardai tried to trace a man in his 20s who was seen buying chips near this time in a diner.
It believed that she was abducted between 11.50pm and 12.05am. Gardai urged farmers in the area to search their land.
In 1996, JoJo’s sister Mary Phelan and her Husband Martin hired their own private investigator. The investigator pretended to be a tourist looking for directions to gain access to the farmland of a man they believe killed JoJo. He met a man who had a scar on his face which hadn’t healed well due to lack of medical attention. The investigator added that he was after solving 13 murders but ‘Jojo’s I’ll never solve.. I’ll have to bring that one to my grave with me’.
Two female Gardai who were sent to Mary’s house to visit them did not even have it in their files that the chief suspect had a scar. JoJo’s family claim the killer is related to a politician and that this influence has protected him as the Gardai ‘know who it is, but they’re not going to do anything about it now’ and that a senior officer told them that ‘the investigation will go nowhere’.
Shortly after her disappearance, a woman wrote a letter to the family stating that she was an ex-girlfriend of the suspected killer and that he has abused her during their relationship. Her sister Mary brought the letter straight to Baltinglass Garda station which she later regretted as she later stated that ‘I know now they were never going to act on that letter’. She unfortunately did not get a photocopy of the letter before handing it over. JoJo’s sister Mary said that the investigation was a ‘complete mess’. There is also claims that there was a smear campaign ran to destroy her character which resulted in the public and some politicians defender her honour.
Kathleen has campaigned tirelessly for JoJo’s whereabouts and herself and her family worked to get a national monument erected in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle in remembrance of all the missing people. Kathleen stated that the family ‘cling on to hope for JoJo. We want her to be found before all of us pass away’. Unfortunately, Mary died on the morning of 20th April this year, 2018, after being diagnosed with cancer 17 weeks previous.
Despite an extensive investigation by both the Gardai and her family, JoJo has never been found. Although we may never know what happened to JoJo, someone out there does.
Anyone with information should contact the Gardai at 1-800-666-111.
*Please note, in many sources the surname Dollard and Dullard have been used interchangeably.