Bodies of father and daughter (3) found in sea
Gardaí last night said they were treating as a tragic incident the deaths of a 50-year-old farmer and his three-year-old daughter whose bodies were recovered from the sea near their home in Ballydehob in west Cork early yesterday.
Insp Joe O’Connor of Bantry Garda station said gardaí were not looking for anyone else in connection with the death of Martin McCarthy and his daughter, Clarissa, and will now prepare a file on the matter for a coroner’s inquest.
Postmortem examinations carried out by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster at Cork University Hospital in the afternoon confirmed Mr McCarthy and his daughter both died by drowning.
On Tuesday Mr McCarthy’s wife, Rebecca, who is in her mid-20s, returned home to the family farm at Foilnamuck some 5km from Ballydehob at about 8pm to discover her husband and daughter were missing.
She had left at 5.45pm to visit friends, and Mr McCarthy and their daughter were finishing their evening meal.
When they were absent on her return, Ms McCarthy contacted friends and neighbours, who began searching the rocky farm which skirts the coastline.
It is understood a note left by Mr McCarthy was found in the farmhouse at about 11pm and gardaí were notified. Officers from Bantry began co-ordinating a major search involving Goleen Coast Guard Unit, Schull Inshore Lifeboat, Schull Fire Brigade and Baltimore RNLI.
At about 1.30am, members of the Coast Guard unit under officer-in-charge Michael O’Regan found Clarissa’s body lying in shallow water near the shoreline at Audley Cove just beneath the family holding at Foilnamuck.
Members of the unit began first aid on Clarissa and were joined by a HSE paramedic.
They attempted to resuscitate the girl for 90 minutes, as friends comforted her mother who was nearby when the child’s body was discovered.
Mr McCarthy was spotted floating near the foot of a cliff at the cove at about 2.50am.
Mr O’Regan said it was one of the most heart-rending scenes he had witnessed in nearly 50 years of service with the Coast Guard and everyone’s thoughts were with Ms McCarthy.
Ms McCarthy, who is originally from California, was being comforted by Mr McCarthy’s sister, Hesther O’Brien, and her family in Skibbereen.
One local spoke of how Mr McCarthy had appeared “a confirmed bachelor” until he met Rebecca when she came to holiday in the area in the mid-2000s and they began a relationship and were married in 2006.