ON Christmas Day, Christy Daly had passed his neighbour's gate and the pair had a friendly exchange.
Thirteen days later, his shocked neighbour looked on as the cortege of garda vehicles passed his front door with the body of the same man.
"I haven't seen him since Christmas Day, that's the last time I was talking to him. He was in good spirits," he said sadly. The neighbour added that he "had time for him", as "he had never done anything on me".
The rain poured along the isolated rural lane in Leabeg, close to Clara, Co Offaly, as State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy silently walked back from the scene where the body had been found down a drain.
Later in the evening, gardai faced their toughest line of questioning of the day, from the daughter of the deceased.
A brief moment of silence halted the press conference with Superintendent David Taylor outside Tullamore garda station, as a distressed young woman approached, inquiring about her late father.
"Sorry, did you get the post-mortem results?" the upset young woman asked. "My father," she uttered in the next breath.
She was ushered inside and spoke to the gardai, and was seen being comforted by her female companion.
She left moments later, and did not wish to make any comment.
Fr Patrick Keary, the local area parish priest, said that he was "shocked" to hear the news.