Gardai suspect foul play over body parts in recycling plant
GARDAI are now treating as suspicious the discovery of human body parts including a leg in a waste recycling plant.
The resources of a full murder inquiry are being deployed for the investigation as gardai grow increasingly concerned that foul play could be behind the grim find in Ballyfermot, Dublin late on Thursday night.
The discovery of a leg by a shocked worker at the Thorntons plant on Killeen Road was yesterday followed by other body parts uncovered by gardai in ongoing follow-up searches.
A postmortem was last night carried out on the remains found so far as gardai try to identify who they belong to as quickly as possible. It is understood there was no sign of clothing found with the remains, which also included what is believed to be part of a pelvis and an arm. Gardai have confirmed further tests will be required to determine the gender and age of the person.
DNA testing has also been carried out but gardai think it could be days before they have been able to complete the search of the plant.
"There are tonnes of waste material to go through in a very challenging environment," said a senior source.
"While there were initial thoughts or theories that the remains might be that of a homeless person who was sleeping in a bin and was accidentally tipped into a waste truck, or medical waste that was incorrectly labelled, this is now looking less likely because no clothing or medical wrappings has been found yet."
The alarm was raised just before midnight on Thursday when a leg was found by a worker sorting through waste material.
Gardai working on the investigation are compiling lists of recently missing persons in case a point comes where they have to cross-reference those details with the results of the postmortem on the body parts.
But if the remains do belong to a homeless man or woman it could be some time before a person in that situation is reported missing, which would hamper identifying them.
"By their nature homeless people do not have regular patterns in their lives and sleep in many different locations, so they are less likely to be missed by families," a source said.
"It is very difficult and sensitive, but if the teams of gardai could find other parts that might make identification easier, such as a head, or hands with fingerprints, then it would speed up the investigation and help determine the direction it takes."
Thorntons has declined to comment on the case, saying that it was now a matter for gardai and it would assist them in any way needed.