herald

Wednesday 20 September 2017

'Remains found in garden not missing Ciara', say gardai

Ciara Breen, missing since 1997
Ciara Breen, missing since 1997

GardaI have confirmed that remains found in the garden of a home in Co Louth are historic and not those of missing teenager Ciara Breen.

Construction workers contacted gardai shortly before 5pm on Wednesday after they made the grim find while working on a site at Mary Street North in Dundalk.

The remains were unearthed at the rear of a house.

Gardai attended the scene and contacted a coroner. Officers also sought the services of a forensic anthropologist and preserved the scene.

Last night a forensic anthropologist confirmed that the remains were human. Gardai were investigating if the human remains could be those of Ciara (17), who disappeared from her home in Bachelor's Walk, less than 200 metres away, on February 13, 1997.

State Pathologist Marie Cassidy attended the scene with a forensic anthropologist at around 10.30am and examined the remains for around an hour.

Supt Gerry Curley then addressed the media and said the remains found were "not modern".

"The remains have been examined by a forensic anthropologist and the State Pathologist, Dr Cassidy, who are satisfied that the remains are not modern, they are historical, and we have contacted the national museum and will be directed by the museum as to the manner in which the excavation will take place," he told the Herald.

Gardai added: "These remains are not connected to any ongoing Garda investigation."

A relative of Ciara Breen said gardai had been quick to inform them of the historical nature of the remains.

"We had our hopes up that it was Ciara, but it's not, so now we're just processing the information," she said.

Examined

Supt Curley renewed the appeal for anyone with information as to Ciara's disappearance 20 years ago to come forward.

Neighbours said the remains lay under a white forensic tent on Wednesday night before being examined yesterday.

The house is being gutted by the new owner and the small yard had previously been concreted, apart from a large tree which was recently removed.

"The builder who found the remains was very shocked," said a next-door neighbour.

In July, Liam Mullen, who was the chief suspect in the teenager's disappearance, died of a suspected overdose at Dundalk Garda Station.

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