investigation | 

Gardaí ‘know identity' of newborn child whose skeletal remains were found in Cork

It is understood the investigation is now being conducted against the background of an apparent personal tragedy

Gardai outside Midleton, Co Cork where partial skeletal remains were found on the new Midleton to Youghal Greenway in January 2021. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire© PA

Ralph RiegelIndependent.ie

Gardaí believe they know the identity of a new-born child whose remains were discovered in east Cork.

While formal identification has yet to be completed on the infant discovered, detectives believe they know who the baby involved was and the precise circumstances in which it was buried.

It is understood that the Garda investigation is now being conducted against the background of an apparent personal tragedy.

One Garda source confirmed that a definite line of inquiry in relation to the matter is being pursued.

There is no evidence of the death being suspicious.

One theory now being examined is that the infant may have been stillborn.

The skeletal remains of the baby - whose gender has not yet been revealed - were discovered following a search ordered in Killeagh in east Cork after the receipt of specific information.

The burial area was subjected to a full forensic analysis before the remains were transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for a post mortem examination.

It is expected that the remains will be transferred to Dublin for expert examination by a forensic anthropologist.

Garda sources said there is no apparent connection with the discovery last year of further remains in east Cork.

In January 2021, skeletal remains of an elderly female were found in the east Cork area, by the siding of an old, abandoned railway line.

That individual - who remains unidentified - is believed to have been dead for eight years or more before their remains were discovered by workmen converting the old railway line in a greenway.

However, the remains of the infant discovered this week are believed to have been buried for possibly 20 years or more.

Gardaí said the nature of their investigation will now be determined by pathology and forensic tests.

"The remains were removed to Cork City Morgue and the assistance of a forensic anthropologist has been sought," a Garda spokesperson said.

"A post-mortem is scheduled to take place, the results of which will direct the course of the investigation."

For operation reasons, Gardaí have not confirmed precisely where the remains were found - or how close the site was to where the elderly female remains were found last year.

Gardaí hope to be able to obtain dental and DNA samples from the latest skeletal remains to assist with formal identification.

One theory about the January 2021 skeleton discovery is that the remains may have been buried at a different site before being brought to the old railway siding.

Those remains are believed to belong to a woman in her 70s.

A major public appeal was launched to try to identify the elderly woman.

However, her death is being treated as suspicious.

The woman has not been matched to any missing person profile despite exhaustive DNA, dental and forensic tests since the skeleton was discovered on January 5 2021 by workmen clearing sections of the old Midleton-Youghal railway line.

Her identity has baffled Gardaí with officers now convinced the key to solving the mystery lies with the public. Superintendent Adrian Gamble last year appealed for anyone with information about the woman or her possible identity to contact Gardaí. Fragments of clothing found wrapped around one of the bones was said to indicate old-style nightwear. A piece of religious jewellery - a crucifix on a chain - was also found by one of the vertebrae.

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