Skeletal remains undiscovered for decade deemed 'suspicious' by gardaí

ireland
Gardaí are treating as suspicious the discovery of skeletal remains of a female pensioner on an abandoned railway line.
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Olivia Kelleher

Gardaí are treating as suspicious the discovery of the skeletal remains of a female pensioner in undergrowth on an abandoned railway line in east Cork last month.

At a press briefing in Midleton, Co Cork, gardaí issued an appeal for the assistance of the public in identifying the remains unearthed on January 5th by workmen on the former Midleton to Youghal Road.

Gardaí had confirmed this morning that the skeletal remains are those of a woman in her seventies.

She was wearing a white nightgown that is 50 inches in length, had dentures, suffered from arthritis and was large-framed. The woman was also relatively small in height, at between 5 feet and 5 feet 2 inches.

It is understood that the body lay undiscovered for about a decade. DNA samples which were compared against the National DNA Database did not reveal a positive match for the remains.

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Supt Adrian Gamble said gardaí are satisfied that the woman in the undergrowth is not 46-year-old Tina Satchwell who disappeared from her home in Youghal, Co Cork in March 2017.

Criminal investigation

Supt Gamble confirmed that the case was a criminal investigation.

“It’s a criminal investigation at this stage and the first thing we have to do is identify the remains of the skeletal bones that we have. I would say the remains have been there within the past 10 years.

“It is an open investigation and today we are extending an appeal to the greater public in the hopes that someone could come forward.”

Gardaí are treating the death as suspicious. Supt Gamble said he was appealing to everyone in the Greater Midleton area to help them identify the skeletal remains of the pensioner.

However, he stressed that this did not mean the investigation would not extend beyond this area.

Supt Gamble confirmed that gardaí had engaged with the National Missing Person’s Unit. However, this had not yielded any results.

Dumping ground

When asked if the body was buried or dumped at the location, Supt Gamble said “it was found close enough to the surface.”

He stressed that gardaí are determined to formally identify the deceased “and treat her with the respect and dignity that she deserves.”

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Material was uncovered during the garda search which followed the discovery of the skeletal remains. However, much of it was not linked to the investigation as the area was used as a dumping ground by members of the public who threw rubbish over the railway bridge.

Supt Gamble said that investigation has involved a large number of gardaí and is extensive in nature.

“House-to-house enquiries have been undertaken in the local area, local missing person records have been reviewed as have missing person records retained by the Garda National Missing Persons Unit.

“The investigation is ongoing and further scientific resources, including carbon dating have been engaged as part of the investigation.

Someone in the community must know how the female skeletal remains came to be

“An Garda Síochána is appealing to the public for any information, no matter how small, they might have to help.

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“Someone in the community must know how the female skeletal remains came to be at this locally known 'tipping point' off the Shanty Path at Roxborough, Midleton, Co Cork.

“An Garda Síochána want to provide closure for a family that, at this early stage, remain unknown and ensure that the remains are brought to a final resting place.”

Any person with information can contact investigating gardaí at the incident room at Midleton Garda station on 021 462 1550, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

In the meantime, the skeletal remains of the woman continue to be housed at the Cork City morgue. It is hoped she will be claimed so that she can be given a proper funeral and burial.

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