Amy Fitzpatrick was 15-years-old when she vanished from Spain on New Years Day of 2008. Her disappearance left a fractured family in its wake, and a decade-long mystery that may never be resolved.
Amy moved to Spain in 2004 with her mother, Audrey, brother Dean, and mother’s boyfriend Dave Mahon. Audrey had separated from Amy and Dean’s father, Christopher, before the move and saw Spain as a chance for her and her children to start anew. The newly formed family packed their bags and set up home in Mijas Costa, a popular destination for British and Irish ex-pats.
On the evening of her disappearance, Amy had been over at her friend Ashley Rose’s house, helping Ashley Rose babysit her younger brother. At around 10pm she left the house to walk back to her home in Riviera del Sol, a journey that should have taken mere minutes. Amy has been neither seen nor heard from since.
The teenager would sometimes spend nights away from home, and so at first her family thought she might be staying with a friends. As a result, she was not officially reported missing until January 3. Several witnesses then reported seeing Amy with a blonde woman at a bar on the night she disappeared, while another reported seeing her with an older man, but none of these sightings have been confirmed.
Ashley Rose and her mother Debbie both told police that Amy had her mobile phone with her when she left, but it was later found at the apartment she shared with Dean, Audrey and Dave. She had no money, and knew only a handful of people in Spain, having not even been attending school in the months leading up to her disappearance
A look into Amy’s life revealed that she was not happy with her life in Spain, and had wanted to return to Ireland.
Audrey had planned to take Amy back to visit over Christmas, but their plans were halted when Dean, Amy’s brother, had found himself in some legal trouble in Spain. Amy was upset that the trip had been cancelled, and there had been some tensions at home between Audrey and her daughter. But investigations revealed some troubling evidence that went far beyond the typical teenage ups and downs.
A woman who had looked after Amy for a time in Spain had sent a letter to the Irish embassy in Madrid in 2005, asking them to take the teenager into care for her own safety. Entries from Amy’s diary showed a drawing of her living in a cardboard box with an arrow pointing to some bins. Accompanying the drawing were the words: “I smell of dog shit and I haven’t had a shower in 2 years and I moved into my new house 2 day (sic) and it’s quite small and it’s not been painted. I am hoping to paint my cardboard box soon.”
Debbie and Ashley Rose, the last people to see Amy alive, told the media that the 15-year-old had a strained relationship with her mother’s boyfriend, Dave, and described her as being ‘scared’ of him. Audrey adamantly denies these claims.
In August of 2008, the offices of the family’s lawyers were broken in to, and Amy’s mobile phone, a laptop and confidential documents were stolen. A lawyer at the firm noted how odd it was that documents of no financial value were stolen, while expensive televisions, computer and music equipment was left behind.
Despite their enquiries, Spanish police found no evidence relating to Amy’s disappearance, while private investigators hired by Audrey and Dave have also found little in the way of leads. With no viable evidence to go on, the case went cold.
Five years after Amy went missing, tragedy struck the family once more. Amy’s brother, Dean, by then 23 and a father of one, was stabbed to death by Dave Mahon following an argument over a water bottle. Audrey continued to stand by Dave, even marrying him shortly before his trial. At the ceremony, Dave wore cufflinks bearing photos of Amy and Dean.
After claiming that Dean had walked into his knife in the midst of an argument, Dave was found guilty of manslaughter in 2016 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Two years later he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and neck, and is currently receiving hospital treatment.