One would need a heart of stone not to feel pain for the plight of the Collins family from Killala. One dark December night just over 10 years Sandra Collins (29) disappeared. She vanished as completely as if she had been plucked from the earth by an alien spaceship.
Nothing as sensational as extra terrestrials were involved in Sandra's sudden exit from her family and community.
She was almost certainly murdered, gardaí believe. By whom is a mystery. Where the body lies represents a further painful enigma.
Throughout the long days and what must have felt longer nights which have slipped by for the Collins family since Monday, December 4, 2000 the Collins family have suffered.
There were a number of 'false dawns' since.
There were hopes of a breakthrough in recent days and weeks which might help in some way ease the suffering.
In the early years of the investigation, there were arrests which fanned hopes that the body would be recovered, the perpetrator(s) brought to justice.
Optimism in that regard never flared more brightly than in the past week when there were a number of arrests described by Superintendent Peter O'Boyle, who is heading the revitalised murder investigation, as 'significant'.
Three people in total were arrested and held at Ballina garda station. All were subsequently released without charge.
The first arrest was of a 21-year-old woman living in the Ballina area. She would have been 11 at the time Sandra went missing. After being questioned about the suspected withholding of information she was released on Thursday.
As the woman was being set free, gardaí were moving to arrest a second person, a 47-year-old man who also lives in the north Mayo area. He was later released but a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The final episode in the latest series of arrests was the detention of a 58-year-old man for the withholding of information. He has also since been released without charge.
For the gardaí, it is obvious that some pieces of the jigsaw are beginning to come together. But do they have enough evidence to secure a conviction?
The Collins family themselves are anxious for a resolution, some form of closure.
At the weekend, Sandra's brother Patrick, contacted Midwest Radio News to appeal, as he has often done in the past, for information.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Patrick said: "Now is the time for anyone who knows anything at all to come forward with information."
Patrick also thanked the gardai and all who have supported the family, especially in the past week.
Sandra Collins was last seen in The Country Kitchen takeaway in Georges Street, KIllala, at around 11.15 p.m. on December 4, 2000.
Her fleece jacket was later found on the local pier.
Last December, on the 10th anniversary of Sandra's disappearance, a fresh appeal to the public was made for any information.
Since then gardaí have been contacted with information, some of it concerning a white van that was seen in Killala on the night Ms. Collins disappeared.
In recent weeks gardaí have issued a local appeal in their efforts to identify the van. Officers now believe they have identified the vehicle.
On the day she was last seen alive, Ms. Collins left her aunt's house in Killala to go to the shops. About three hours later, at 11 p.m., she was served in a local fast food outlet where she bought two bags of chips. She was never seen again.
When her jacket was discovered on the pier four days later, some of the items she had bought in the shops were in the pockets.
There have been hopes of a breakthrough before, most significantly in 2004 when a man known to Ms. Collins was detained on suspicion of withholding information. But he was released without charge.
Members of the Collins family do not hold out any hopes that Sandra could still be alive. A sister, Bridie (Conway) said recently: "We believe she is dead, unfortunately. The most important thing for us is to get her back.
"Our lives have been put on hold to a certain extent for the past 10 years. There is someone out there who could end it all, someone with information on what happened to her and where she is.
"We hope at some stage to get her back and we will try to move on ourselves then."
Gardaí believe a number of people know what happened to Sandra and have appealed to those people to contact Ballina garda station at (096) 20560, or via the confidential line, 1800 666111.