Gardai fear young mother Amy (23) may have been assaulted before her death
'You had a beautiful heart' - Tributes paid to young mum found dead in Cork
GARDAÍ fear a young mother found in a Cork squat may have been the victim of an assault in the hours before her death.
Mother-of-one Amy McCarthy (23) was discovered in a squat in a derelict premises off Sheares Street in Cork city centre early on Sunday morning.
However, Cork Gardai have not upgraded their investigation to a murder probe despite receiving the results of a post mortem examination conducted at Cork University Hospital (CUH) by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.
Gardai are refusing to comment on the preliminary findings of the post mortem examination for operational reasons.
Detectives will await the results of detailed toxicology tests conducted as part of the CUH examination.
Gardai are now trying to determine how the young woman from Greenmount sustained visible injuries to her face, head and neck.
Ms McCarthy, who is understood to have been battling severe addiction problems, had been homeless for a time in Cork.
Friends paid tributes to her on social media and laid flowers outside the derelict property.
"You had such a beautiful heart, Amy," one friend wrote.
"It was a pleasure knowing you - (you were) a very outgoing and caring girl."
"She wouldn't harm a fly - (it is) such a shock. Look over your little boy and your family at this sad time."
It is understood she entered the derelict building sometime on Friday or Saturday with three other people after a security hoarding was torn down from a downstairs window.
The body of the young woman was discovered in an upstairs room at the property.
Despite desperate attempts to revive her, she was pronounced dead at the scene before she could be transferred to the nearby Mercy University Hospital (MUH).
The scene was immediately sealed off by Gardaí to allow for a full forensic and technical examination.
Members of the Garda Technical Bureau later attended the property.
It is understood a number of people have been living at the squat over recent days.
The premises had been vacant for a period of months and it is suspected up to four people, including the deceased, gained access to the three storey building over recent days.
Several of those visiting the squat are known to have availed of homeless support services in the Cork area.
A number are also known to have suffered from serious alcohol and drug addiction problems.
One of those with Ms McCarthy raised the alarm at 7am on Sunday when they were unable to wake her for breakfast.
Gardaí are now hoping to speak with anyone who may have had access to the building over the past few days with several preliminary statements already taken from those found at the property or its vicinity.
Officers said they are satisfied that Ms McCarthy was not living at the squat for more than 48 hours.
Officers are also conducting door-to-door inquiries in the area to determine if anyone heard or saw anything suspicious over the past two days.
The area has a number of business premises and Gardaí will be examining CCTV security camera footage to determine the last known movements of the deceased.
It is understood that some CCTV footage has already been obtained in which Ms McCarthy is seen walking near the property.
The property involved is located to the rear of Mercy University Hospital (MUH) and just a short distance from the Bridewell Garda Station.
Gardaí have urged anyone who may have seen Ms McCarthy since Friday or heard anything suspicious in the Sheares Street area over the weekend to contact them at (021) 4943330.