| 6.7°C Dublin

No indication of foul play in death of woman whose remains were found in Wexford ditch

 

Close

A garda car blocks the road to where skeletal remains were found near Ferns

A garda car blocks the road to where skeletal remains were found near Ferns

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

Closed: Gardaí shut the road near Ferns, Co Wexford after the remains of a woman were found by a walker yesterday

Closed: Gardaí shut the road near Ferns, Co Wexford after the remains of a woman were found by a walker yesterday

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

/

A garda car blocks the road to where skeletal remains were found near Ferns

GARDAÍ have found no indication of foul play in the death of a woman whose skeletal body was found in a Wexford ditch.

It is now feared that the middle aged woman may have died between a year and 18 months ago, possibly from a severe fall or sudden illness such as a heart attack.

Garda sources warned that extensive further tests will be required to try to determine the precise circumstances of the woman's death.

The skeletal remains found in a drain in Co Wexford are believed to be those of a woman.
 

But inquiries so far have given no indication of anything suspicious in her death.

Officers are baffled as to how the woman's remains were not found before now.

Close

Closed: Gardaí shut the road near Ferns, Co Wexford after the remains of a woman were found by a walker yesterday

Closed: Gardaí shut the road near Ferns, Co Wexford after the remains of a woman were found by a walker yesterday

The body was removed from Ballyandrew, outside Ferns in north Wexford, yesterday morning and a full post mortem examination was conducted at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan has briefed Gardaí on her preliminary findings.

It is understood that further tests will be required to determine a precise cause of death.

However, it is understood there was no sign of trauma to the remains.

Close

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

Scene at Ballyandrew in Ferns, Co Wexford (Photo: Colin O'Riordan)

The body was effectively skeletal though both clothing and hair was recovered at the scene.

One Garda source indicated that the woman, believed to be middle-aged and most likely an Italian national, died some considerable time ago.

"It certainly appears that she died either in late 2017 or in early-mid 2018," he said.

Further pathology tests including DNA genetic fingerprinting and toxicology are set to be ordered to confirm the identity of the woman.

Gardaí admitted that a backpack found at the scene has yielded significant information.

The area where the body was found on Monday by a person out walking their dog remained sealed off yesterday to facilitate the work of Garda forensic experts.

Central to their investigation is whether the woman died at the scene and, if so, how the remains could have gone undiscovered for so long.

Door-to-door inquires around the tight-knit Ferns community are now being carried out to determine if anyone spotted anything unusual in the area over the past 18 months.

The clothing, backpack and black hair of the deceased match that of an Italian woman who was seen around the south-east in 2016/2017.

The woman, in her 50s, had been living rough in the north Wexford area in late 2017.

However, DNA may be required for a formal identification.

The woman was described as living on the fringes of local communities and largely keeping to herself.

Several people had expressed concern over her well-being given her frail appearance, state of health and lifestyle.

It is understood that Gardaí had logged public concerns in 2017 over the welfare of the woman.

But she had not come to their attention beyond that.

Gardaí are now working with Europol, Interpol and the Italian police to confirm the woman's identity and to trace any family members in Italy.

The investigation is being led by Enniscorthy Gardaí who appealed for anyone with information to contact them on (053) 9242580.

Shocked locals left flowers and candles near the site.

Online Editors