The mystery of the corpse discovered outside Midleton in January continues, with gardaí now investigating the possibility that the remains of the woman may have been dumped from the grave to make room for another deceased person.
The skeletal remains of the woman were discovered on a construction site in January near an abandoned railway line. Gardaí released further details about the woman's remains earlier this month in the hopes of identifying her.
The woman was in her 70s and was wearing a white nightgown, and gardaí believe her body lay undiscovered in undergrowth for a decade.
The remains have been sent for carbon dating analysis to identify when she died, after a search on the DNA database failed to find a match.
A source familiar with the investigation said one line of inquiry was that the woman's remains may have been illegally removed from the grave, rather than being desecrated deliberately by vandals, or by "grave robbers".
The source said it was customary in some regions for families to dig graves of their own relatives or loved ones, and there was a possibility the person originally interred could have been removed from the grave to make room for a deceased person, although a family row was also being considered.
Remnants of a rotted coffin were also discovered during a search of the site.
New requirements allow only licensed gravediggers with appropriate training to dig graves in cemeteries, but those regulations were introduced only in the last decade by the local authority.
Gardaí are appealing for members of the public with information to come forward, and have conducted house-to-house inquiries in the area. Detectives are also liaising with Cork County Council, which operates cemeteries across the county.
Monsignor Jim Killeen, parish priest for Midleton, said last week that the parish is "happy to provide any assistance necessary" to help gardaí identify the woman's remains. He said no approach had been made as of yet.
Gardaí are also understood to be speaking to undertakers in the area and are also examining burial records.
The woman's remains were discovered on January 5 just off the Shanty Path in Roxborough. Construction workers building the Midleton to Youghal greenway discovered a human skull. The skeletal remains were found later.
At a press briefing earlier this month, Superintendent Adrian Gamble announced further details of what gardaí had learned about the woman.
He said that the remains were those of a woman who was between 5' and 5'2", who was 70 or older at the time of her death. She was large in frame, wore dentures, and had arthritis.
The woman did not match anyone on the missing person's database. Superintendent Gamble dismissed speculation that the remains were those of Tina Satchwell (45), a woman on the missing person's list who disappeared from her home in Youghal in 2017.
He told the press briefing: "An Garda Síochána want to provide closure for a family that, at this early stage, remain unknown. We also want to ensure that the remains are brought to a final resting place."
People with information should call the Garda National Confidential Line (1800 666 111).