Fiona's mother Josephine never gave up hope of finding her daughter but died last week
The brother of missing woman Fiona Pender is calling for a full garda review into his sister's case.
Fiona was 25-years-old and seven months pregnant when disappeared in Tullamore on 22nd August 1996.
Gardaí believe she was murdered, however no trace of her has ever been found.
Her late mother Josephine never gave up hope of finding her daughter but died last week without finding out what happened to her.
This morning, John Pender – the only surviving member of the Pender family – pledged to keep up the search and called for a “full garda review and or cold case review into my sister’s case.”
He has released a letter written by his mother before she died that was read out during her funeral.
“My mother was a hero,” he said. “She never gave up or gave in looking for my sister.”
“In the face of such heartache after losing my brother Mark in a road traffic accident in 1995 and my late father Sean who took his own life in 2000 - after not being able to cope with losing his children and grandchild - my mother kept fighting, kept hoping and kept searching for Fiona right up until the end.”
He said both his parents died of broken hearts - adding that his mother was the only member of his family that he was able to say a proper goodbye to.
“It has been a struggle over the years, but the torch has been passed to me to find my sister,” he said. "I hope you will all help me."
He said the annual Fiona Pender walk would next year also be in memory of his mother.
“Please keep Fiona and her baby and my mother in your hearts,” he said. “My mother was a loving, gentle and kind woman who stayed strong and positive and never wished harm on anyone no matter what came her way.”
In the letter written by his mother in recent years and read out at her funeral last week, Mrs Pender said that when she lost her first-born, beautiful and only daughter she “lost my best friend with whom I could discuss anything.”
“I hope you are in the light Fi as I know you did not like the dark,” she said. “I also hope your feet are warm; oh how I long to rub them for you as we did when they were cold.”
“My heart and my arms ache never to have been able to hold and look after your baby.
“Love and light to you my precious daughter love mam xoxo.”
You can read the letter in full below:
When we lost your brother Mark on 12th June 1995 you said to me “nothing worse can happen to us now mam”. We did not know then that 14 months later we would lose you and your baby on 22nd August 1996 and your dad on 31st March 2000 from a broken heart after losing his children.
When I lost you Fi my first born, my beautiful only daughter I lost my best friend with whom I could discuss anything, my shopping companion you had such a flair for fashion. O the shoes and handbags we could have bought together Fi.
I hope you have met up with your dad and Mark and of course your devoted “Millie” in heaven. If you can do anything from heaven to help us find you and your baby if you can please do.
Emer and I have searched far and wide trying to find you and will never give up until we do.
I know you idolised your brother John from when he was a baby, you would be very proud of him now as he has become a fine young man despite all of the heartache he had to go through.
I hope you are in the light Fi as I know you did not like the dark. I also hope your feet are warm o how I long to rub them for you as we did when they were cold.
I greatly regret not being able to help you on the birth of your baby my grandchild. My heart and my arms ache never to have been able to hold and look after your baby. God to help John and myself, the only members of your family left to give us the strength to keep going after the loss of you our loved ones.
Love and light to you my precious daughter love mam xoxo