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Mother of missing woman Fiona Pender dies following long battle with illness

Journal.ie logo Journal.ie 14/09/2017 Sean Murray

Josephine Pender reciting a prayer on the 21s anniversary of her daughter's disappearance © RTa News Josephine Pender reciting a prayer on the 21s anniversary of her daughter's disappearance JOSEPHINE PENDER, THE mother who long campaigned for her information about her missing daughter Fiona, has died following a long illness.

Fiona Pender was 25-years-old when she left her apartment in Tullamore, Co Offaly on 23 August 1996 and was never seen again. She was seven months pregnant at the time.

Josephine made numerous appeals for information in relation to her daughter’s disappearance over the years. Her activism led to the creation of a walk along the Grand Canal in Tullamore called Fiona’s Way, but Fiona was never found.

Fiona’s disappearance wasn’t the only tragedy to affect the family as Josephine’s son, Mark, was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1995, while her husband, Sean, died by suicide in 2000.

She is survived by her son John, and her grandchildren. No details of her funeral have been announced as of yet.

Speaking to RTÉ on the 21st anniversary of Fiona’s disappearance, Josephine Pender acknowledged that her daughter may be dead, but said that she just wants to give her the dignity of a proper burial.

Fiona Pender was seven months pregnant when she went missing. © The Pender family Fiona Pender was seven months pregnant when she went missing.

“I think of her baby a lot, who would have been 21,” she said. “This baby would have been new life in the family. It’s terrible that someone could harm her.”

Just three weeks before she died, Josephine Pender said that she just wanted a chance to bury her daughter.

I don’t know whether I’m going to last. If anyone knows anything… I would go so far as to beg them to come forward. Hopefully it will lead to finding her. I’m not into punishment, I just want Fiona given back a bit of dignity… to lay her to rest with her daddy and her brother.

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