THE family of tragic teenager Daniel McAnaspie are heartbroken by his murder but comforted by the fact they can now give him a proper funeral.
Speaking after the remains found last Thursday in a drainage ditch in Meath were identified as those of the Finglas teen, his aunt Margaret said the family was still coming to terms with the reality that their brother and nephew is dead.
"We have him back and we can put him to rest, but we are all brokenhearted," Margaret McAnaspie told the Herald.
She added that they also hope that any physical evidence found on Daniel's body could help identify his killers.
"That's really a matter for gardai, but obviously we would hope Daniel's killers can be caught," she said.
The 17-year-old's body was discovered by a landowner in a drain in his field at Gilliamstown, Rathfeigh, in Co Meath on Thursday.
He was formally identified on Saturday after a detailed post-mortem found he had died of multiple stab wounds.
Daniel disappeared on February 25 when he and a friend went to Whitestown Avenue in Blanchardstown to meet two girls.
His family are now hoping to visit the site where Daniel's body was found as soon as gardai forensic work in the area is completed.
As news of Daniel's death broke on Saturday night, those who had shown their support in the search by joining the Facebook page dedicated to him were told of the tragedy through an open message by family and friends on the website.
"It is with our deepest sympathy we have to let you all know that Daniel was found," it read. "The family are very upset and hurt, but would like to thank you all for your support and kindness throughout the search for Dano.
Today, messages of support continued to be posted on the site by friends and supporters of the McAnaspie family.
"Dano my little babe I can't sleep my heart is broke. Your little cousin Erica keeps telling me to go to bed but I can't cause I can't stop thinking of you," wrote Pamela Higginbotham.
Yesterday a group of Daniel's closest friends gathered at the spot in Dublin where he was last seen alive to pay their respects. Others had gathered at the site the night before to lay flowers.
Cathy Keenan from Finglas, a family friend and member of the 50-strong search party, said that everyone who knew him was "devastated" and "heartbroken" by the news of his death.
"The family literally tore the place apart trying to look for Daniel," Cathy said."At least this news can bring closure for them now, and they can bring home the body.
"When the search for him was on his pals didn't want to go out because of the fear of finding him dead. I don't know what will happen now, but he'll get one of the biggest send-offs around here in a long time."
Gardai have repeated pleas for anyone with information about Daniel's disappearance to contact Superintendent Dave Dowling of Blanchardstown garda station on 01 666 7000 or the garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.