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Two held in murder probe over baby death

Gardai are now treating the death of 10-day-old Johnny McCarthy as murder -- with two further suspects arrested in the investigation.

Little Johnny died after a house party in Lusk, Co Dublin, three weeks ago.

The two arrests made yesterday bring the number arrested after the baby's death to eight -- six were arrested on suspicion of withholding information about the incident.

The two suspects were arrested in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, and were question separately last night at Balbriggan and Whitehall garda stations.

Gardai have switched their inquiries into the baby's death from suspicious into an official murder investigation.

A post-mortem by State Pathologist Marie Cassidy showed the little boy died violently. The baby, from Navan, Co Meath, and a member of the Travelling community, died from blunt force trauma to the head. He had also sustained substantial bruising to his body.

He was pronounced dead on Friday January 8 at 2am, shortly after he was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes hospital, Drogheda -- the same where he was born just 10 days before.

The gardai have ruled out the possibility that the baby died from an accidental fall or that the head injuries were sustained after the child was dropped as he was being held.

Gardai believe the baby's fatal injuries were sustained just before his death and were not sustained before the visit to Lusk that night.

In the hours before he died the baby and his family were visiting a house on Scholar's Walk, in Lusk, north Co Dublin.


The Garda Technical Bureau closed off the house and examined the crime scene for four days to discover the exact nature of how the baby came to receive his injuries.

Garda Chief Supt Gerry Philips, the officer in charge of the Dublin North Division, said the investigation was progressing well.

He said there could be people with very important information to the case that may be reluctant to come forward and he urged them to make contact the gardai.

Chief Supt Philips went on to say that any information received would be treated with the strictest confidence and that they should contact the Garda Confidential phoneline on 1800 666111. A file is being prepared for the DPP.