Second area sealed off in Elaine O’Hara investigation
Gardaí now believe the 37-year-old, who was missing since August 2012, was murdered
Undated handout photograph of Elaine O’Hara
Gardaí investigating the suspected murder of Elaine O’Hara have sealed off a section of the Vartry Reservoir near Roundwood in Co Wicklow as a crime scene after a bag of items linked to her were found there.
While members of the Garda Water Unit could be seen taking items from the drained waterway this afternoon, The Irish Times understands a bag containing clothes and other personal items belonging to the 37-year-old from Killiney, south Dublin, were found last week.
The bag was discovered by a man who works on the reservoir but gardaí had no idea where it had come from or who it was linked to at the time. It had been in the water for a long period.
When the partial skeletal remains were found last Friday on Killakee mountain, Rathfarnham, south Co Dublin, gardai investigating it had no idea the discoveries in neighbouring counties two days apart were linked.
However, DNA and dental record cross checking of the bones established they were those of Ms O’Hara and it was at that point that the contents of the bag found in the Wicklow reservoir was linked to her.
Gardaí today went back to the spot where the bag was found and thoroughly searched it after it had been drained.They found a large number of items including a haversack, key fobs and assorted items of clothing. While it is unclear if any of these are linked to Ms O’Hara they were packed into evidence bags and will now be forensically analysed in an effort to establish their evidential value, if any.
Gardaí described a number of the items found in the bag last Wednesday as “of particular interest”.
The stretch of water near Roundwood and the location where the partial skeletal remains were found will both be searched again tomorrow as the investigation into Ms O’Hara’s death intensifies.
The dead woman’s family declined to comment when contacted by The Irish Times.
Efforts to establish a cause of death have been frustrated by the decomposition of the remains and also by the fact most of the skeleton was not found, apparently taken away by wild animals over the past 12 months.
Gardaí now believe no effort was made to bury the body and that it was hidden away in undergrowth to rot in the elements and sink into the soft soil in the area.
They are working on the theory Ms O’Hara was murdered and searches since last Friday’s find have uncovered further skeletal remains.
Officers in Blackrock, south Dublin, have appealed for anyone who may have seen Ms O’Hara since the last confirmed sighting of her on August 22nd, 2012, at Ballinclea Heights, Killiney, south Dublin, to contact them.
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, south Co Dublin.
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 in Killiney.
About two days later her green Fiat Punto, with its 05 D registration, was found at Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill, not far from the spot of the last sighting.
Gardaí say she had been to visit her mother’s grave and may have been depressed.
The woman who made the discovery of the partial skeletal remains last Friday was on Killakee mountain, Rathfarnham, south Co Dublin, at about 7.30pm when her dog went into undergrowth and would not come out.
The owner went in after the animal and found what she believed to be human remains. The Garda were alerted and the scene was sealed off immediately.
The medical examination of the remains has been led by deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis.
Ms O’Hara was 5ft 4in in height and of stocky build with mousey brown hair. When she went missing gardaí say she was wearing jeans, runners and a blue top, with either a jacket or a jumper.
Runners and a tracksuit top were found with the remains last Friday.