Sunday 22 September 2019

Gardaí hope DNA will lead to identification of tragic baby Belle's mother

Flowers at Bell’s Beach where a baby girl's body was discovered in Balbriggan North County Dublin.
Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Flowers at Bell’s Beach where a baby girl's body was discovered in Balbriggan North County Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Gardaí will take a DNA sample from the remains of a baby girl found on a north Dublin beach in the hope of identifying her mother.

The newborn, named Belle by gardaí, was discovered at around 10am on Saturday at a beach in Balbriggan.

The infant was a full-term baby but tragically died following a stillbirth.

Gardaí are not treating the death as a criminal investigation and are anxious to track down the mother who they believe needs urgent medical care.

As part of that process, officers will take a DNA sample from Belle and compare it for matches in the national DNA database.

CCTV from the area around Bell's Beach, Balbriggan, will also be reviewed, as gardaí believe the baby's remains were left on the shore rather than being washed ashore by the currents.

Yesterday afternoon gardaí made another public appeal for her mother to come forward and seek medical attention, adding that her welfare was of "paramount importance" to gardaí.

"I want to thank everyone in the general area for their assistance. A number of phone calls have been received at Balbriggan garda station," said Sergeant Fiona Savidge, of Balbriggan garda station.

"The primary concern is the health, welfare and medical assistance that can be offered to Belle's mam. I also want to say that the safety of Belle's mam is of paramount importance.

"The post-mortem showed yesterday that it was the birth of a baby girl, she was full term and unfortunately baby Belle was stillborn," Sgt Savidge added.

Eilidh McNab, the Tusla north Dublin area manager, also urged the mother to seek medical attention.

Officials have repeatedly stressed that the woman will be treated with care and compassion if she comes forward.

Gardaí have also appealed to anybody else with information about the incident to make contact with them.

Belle's body was partially covered in sand when discovered, but gardaí believe this was the result of winds rather than being done deliberately.

The baby's remains were left at the beach "very, very shortly" after being born.

Apart from the cloth used to cover the child, no personal or identifying items were left with Belle.

Efforts will also be made to determine what route or how the newborn was brought to Bell's Beach.

Funeral

The remains are currently with the local coroner following the post-mortem examination, and arrangements will be made with the local authority to make burial or funeral arrangements.

It is expected that this will take place in Balbriggan, where prayer services have already been held for baby Belle.

"I can assure you, you will be treated with the utmost of compassion, care and 100pc confidentiality," said Sgt Savidge, addressing the mother at a previous media appeal.

"I know you are a daughter, you are possibly a sister, a cousin.

"You may have a husband or a boyfriend. You may just have confided in a friend, so to anybody out there who the mother of this baby has got in touch with I am appealing to you to make contact with us here," she said.

Irish Independent

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