Dead woman’s internet dating links investigated

Bag of dead woman’s personal items found two days before skeletal remains discovered

Members of the Garda water unit recover items including a rucksack from the reservoir near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, as the continue their investigations into missing woman Elaine O’Hara. Picture: Garry O’Neill

Members of the Garda water unit recover items including a rucksack from the reservoir near Roundwood, Co Wicklow, as the continue their investigations into missing woman Elaine O’Hara. Picture: Garry O’Neill

Wed, Sep 18, 2013, 09:46


Gardaí are trying to establish if Elaine O’Hara, whose skeletal remains were discovered in south Co Dublin last Friday, was murdered by someone she met via an online dating website.

The 37-year-old from Oakdene, Killiney, had been using internet services in the period before she went missing and her phone and computer records linked to that use are now set to form a key part of the investigation into how she died.

Senior officers have not discounted the possibility that she may have been killed by somebody who has previously attacked, and possibly murdered, other women who are missing presumed dead.

Gardaí yesterday confirmed the partial skeletal remains discovered in Rathfarnham, south Co Dublin, were those of Ms O’Hara, at the same time that the probe into her death took a new twist.


Reservoir
A bag found in a Co Wicklow reservoir last Wednesday, just two days before the accidental discovery of the remains by a woman out walking her dog, has now been linked to Ms O’Hara.

Informed sources believe the bag contains her personal effects. Gardaí yesterday returned to that stretch of water near Roundwood where the bag was found and searched it thoroughly as part of the investigation into her death. A number of other items were found in the mud and water and taken away for analysis.

Detectives working on the case stressed that because the remains were so decomposed and because only some of her bones were found, a post mortem finding that would confirm homicide has not yet been possible.


Suspicious death
In the absence of that finding, the case is officially being treated as a suspicious death, though gardaí believe the dead woman was murdered and her body dumped in undergrowth where it was found, rather than buried there.

Gardaí believe she had been to visit the grave of her mother around the time of the last confirmed sightings of her. She was seen at 5.05pm on that Wednesday evening leaving Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside.

Just over an hour later, at about 6.15pm, there was a reported sighting of her near that footbridge over the railway line at Shanganagh in Shankill and later at her home in Killiney.

Two days later, her green Fiat Punto, with its 05 D registration, was found at Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill.