A violent Dublin-based crime gang are believed to be behind the brutal butchering of a man whose dismembered body was found in the Grand Canal.
Detectives believe the victim - a man in his 20s - was brutally attacked in recent days before being dismembered and disposed of in the water at Ardclough Village, Co Kildare.
Gardai have all but ruled out any connection between the discovery and the descriptions of anyone who has been reported missing in recent days. But it's believed that the man was most likely eastern European.
The torso was discovered in a suitcase, which had wheels and an extendible handle, in the canal on Saturday afternoon.
There were initial concerns that the body may have been that of missing Wicklow father-of-one Barry Corcoran (39), who disappeared under suspicious circumstances last July.
But this was ruled out after a preliminary examination by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, who said the victim died in recent hours or days.
The post-mortem also confirmed that the man had not been shot or stabbed in the torso, but until the rest of his body is found it would be difficult to determine how he was killed.
Gardai think the man was likely to have been killed elsewhere. The investigation team in the Kildare division is liaising closely with their colleagues in Dublin, particularly with those in the western and southern parts of the capital.
Early evidence would indicate that the murder was the work of a violent crime gang rather than an individual, so gardai are also trying to establish whether there might have been a link between the man's death and murders in recent years.
The preliminary examination revealed that the torso was that of a white male, and had been wrapped in plastic sheeting before being placed into the suitcase and dumped into the canal.
It's believed that this plastic will contain vital DNA evidence that could have a link to the killer or killers.
Superintendent Gerry Wall of Leixlip Garda Station said gardai were appealing for anyone who walked the canal in the region of Ardclough Bridge and the 13th lock to come forward, regardless of if they think they saw something suspicious or not.
The area is very popular with pedestrians and cyclists and is known locally as Arthur's Walkway.
"The nature of what we've discovered would suggest a violent death and that's all I can say at the present time," he said.
"The importance of witness evidence and people coming forward to us, and to assist us in forming the big picture of what may have occurred in this - I can't overemphasise the importance of that witness evidence.
"If you walked this canal in the last few days, it's very important that you come forward to us. It's very early, and any avenue of investigation is open."
The body remained at the scene where it was found on Saturday night as gardai launched their murder investigation. It was only moved to Naas General Hospital yesterday afternoon after a preliminary examination by Dr Curtis.
Searches by the garda underwater unit and canal bank searches by other garda teams will continue over the coming days in an effort to find the remaining body parts, a murder weapon, or any forensic evidence. Forensic analysis of the body and the suitcase could also yield fingerprint or DNA evidence that could have a link to the killer or killers.
Anyone with any information is being urged to call Leixlip Garda Station at 01 666 7800, the Garda Confidential Number on 1800 666111, or any garda station.