Gardai searching for human remains in a field outside Malahide are now using specially-trained cadaver dogs to try to solve the mystery behind a skull that was found last Wednesday.
Teams of officers helped by Civil Defence personnel are continuing their painstaking search after workers using a digger uncovered the skull in the drainage ditch at the edge of the field across from the Waterside estate.
The teams have found nothing more of the body so far in searches near where the skull was discovered and are now searching a wider area using cadaver dogs .
It is possible that wild animals may have disturbed the body where it initially lay and carried the remains some distance away.
Gardai initially speculated that the remains might have been historical.
However, tests carried out so far on the intact skull have revealed that it is from a man who probably died within the last five to 10 years.
Gardai yesterday said that no families of missing persons have yet been approached in relation to the investigation.
They would not comment on some reports that the skull may belong to Patrick Lawlor (24) who disappeared in December 2004.
Detectives investigating Mr Lawlor's disappearance believe he was abducted and murdered by a gang after a consignment of drugs was seized from an apartment he was renting in Donabate. He went missing from Darndale, around 6km from where the skull was found.
Searches for him have been carried out in the past at lands near Dublin Airport.
Relatives of the missing man said they have not been contacted by gardai in relation to the discovery of the skull.