Sunday 24 September 2017

'We had our hopes up it was Ciara, but it's not' - Family heartbreak as it is revealed remains are 'historic'

State Pathologist Dr. Mary Cassidy and Garda Superintendent Gerry Curley leave the house at Mary's Street North, Dundalk where skeletal remains were found during building renovations. Photo: Tony Gavin
Garda Superintendent Gerry Curley makes a statement to the media outside the house at Mary's Street North, Dundalk where skeletal remains were found during building renovations. Photo: Tony Gavin
The house at Mary's Street North, Dundalk where skeletal remains were found during building renovations. Photo: Tony Gavin
A Garda outside the house at Mary's Street North, Dundalk where skeletal remains were found during building renovations. Photo: Tony Gavin
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Gardaí have confirmed that remains found in the garden of a home in Co Louth are historic and not those of missing teenager Ciara Breen.

Construction workers contacted gardaí shortly before 5pm yesterday after they made the grim find while working on a site at Mary Street North in Dundalk. The remains were unearthed at the rear of a house.

Ciara Breen
Ciara Breen

A Garda team attended the scene and contacted a coroner. Officers also sought the services of a forensic anthropologist and preserved the scene.

Last night a forensic anthropologist confirmed that the remains were human.

Gardaí were investigating if the human remains could be those of Ciara (17), who disappeared from her home in Bachelor’s Walk, less than 200 metres away, on February 13, 1997.

State Pathologist Marie Cassidy attended the scene with a forensic anthropologist at around 10.30am and examined the remains for around an hour.

State Pathologist Dr. Mary Cassidy and Garda Superintendent Gerry Curley arrive at the house at Mary's Street North, Dundalk where skeletal remains were found during building renovations.
Photo: Tony Gavin
State Pathologist Dr. Mary Cassidy and Garda Superintendent Gerry Curley arrive at the house at Mary's Street North, Dundalk where skeletal remains were found during building renovations. Photo: Tony Gavin

Supt Gerry Curley then addressed the media and said the remains found were "not modern".

"The remains have been examined by a forensic anthropologist and the State Pathologist, Dr Cassidy, who are satisfied that the remains are not modern, they are historical, and we have contacted the national museum and will be directed by the museum as to the manner in which the excavation will take place," he told Independent.ie.

In a statement gardaí said: "These remains are not connected to any on going Garda investigation."

A relative of Ciara Breen today said the gardai had been quick to inform them of the historical nature of the remains.

"We had our hopes up that it was Ciara, but it's not, so now we're just processing the information," she said.

Supt Curley renewed the garda appeal for anyone with information on Ciara's disappearance 20 years ago to come forward.

Neighbours said the remains lay under a white forensic tent during the night until they were examined today.

The house is being gutted by the new owner and the small back yard had previously been concreted apart from a large tree which was recently removed.

"The builder who found the remains was very shocked, as you would be," said a next door neighbour.

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