herald

Thursday 17 October 2019

DNA bid to trace mother of tragic beach Baby Belle

Eilidh McNab and Sgt Savidge
Eilidh McNab and Sgt Savidge

Detectives will use DNA from the body of a baby found on a north Dublin beach in the hope of identifying her mother.

The newborn girl, named Baby Belle by gardai, was discovered at around 10am on Saturday at a beach in Balbriggan.

The stillborn infant was full-term.

Gardai are not treating the death as a criminal investigation and are anxious to trace the mother, who they believe needs urgent medical care.

Officers will take a DNA sample from Baby Belle and compare it for matches in the national database.

Welfare

CCTV from around the beach will also be reviewed as gardai believe the baby's remains were left on the beach rather than washed ashore.

Gardai made another public appeal yesterday for the mother to come forward and seek medical attention, adding that her welfare was of "paramount importance".

Sgt Fiona Savidge, of Balbriggan Garda Station, said: "I want to thank everyone in the area for their assistance. A number of phone calls have been received at Balbriggan Garda Station.

"The primary concern is the health, welfare and medical assistance that can be offered to Belle's mam.

"I also want to say the safety of Belle's mam is of paramount importance.

Gardai search the clifftops for clues
Gardai search the clifftops for clues

"The post mortem showed it was the birth of a baby girl. She was full-term and unfortunately baby Belle was stillborn."

Eilidh McNab, the Tusla north Dublin area manager, also urged the baby's mother to seek medical attention.

Officials have repeatedly stressed that she will be treated with care and compassion.

Gardai have also appealed to anybody else with information to make contact.

Baby Belle's body was partially covered in sand when discovered, but gardai believe this was the result of the wind rather than being done deliberately.

The baby was left on the beach "very, very shortly" after being born.

Apart from a cloth used to cover the child, no personal or identifying items were left.

Efforts will also be made to determine how the child was taken to the beach.

Prayer

The remains are currently with the coroner following the post mortem, and arrangements will be made with the local authority to organise a funeral.

It is expected this will take place in the Balbriggan community, where prayer services have already been held for the baby.

Sgt Savidge said she wanted the mother to know "you will be treated with the utmost of compassion, care and 100pc confidentiality".

"I know you are a daughter. You are possibly a sister, a cousin. You may have a husband or a boyfriend," she said.

"You may just have confided in a friend, so to anybody out there who the mother of this baby has got in touch with, I am appealing to you to make contact with us here."

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