Gardaí go North in babies probe

Simon Brouder

The renewed investigation into the 1984 murder of five- day-old 'Baby John' near Cahersiveen is moving north of the border after a trawl of the Irish DNA database came up blank.

The new investigation into the murder that led to the Kerry Babies scandal was launched last month following the establishment of a full DNA profile of the murdered infant. The investigation remains focussed on Cahersiveen and gardaí say they still believe the key to solving the 34-year-old case lies in Iveragh.

Despite the south Kerry focus gardaí have cast their net outside Kerry and 'Baby John's' DNA has been compared with the Irish DNA database to see if a match could be found. That trawl failed to reveal any new leads and now the infant's DNA sample is to be compared with samples from UK's national database.

A large number of people moved between northern Ireland and south Kerry in the mid 1980's and gardaí think it is possible that the murdered baby's mother or father may have moved back to the six counties following the killing.

Ireland's DNA database contains just 15,000 samples while the UK database contains DNA from over six million people. If Baby John's mother or father had any relatives on the DNA database for Northern Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales, it will immediately trigger a cross-referencing 'hit' which could help crack the case.

DNA sampling is now so advanced that even distant sixth and seventh cousins can be detected through various genetic 'links'. Gardaí are continuing to invite people in south Kerry to volunteer DNA samples in order to rule themselves out of involvement in the case. The Gardaí said they are "exploring every opportunity" available regarding DNA cross referencing.