Man rearrested after body found by gardaí searching for missing woman
Gardaí investigating the murder of Laois woman Aoife Phelan (30) rearrested a man on suspicion of her murder last night.
The development came hours after a body was uncovered during a planned search of an area on the Timahoe Road outside Portlaoise in Co Laois.
Ms Phelan was four months pregnant when she disappeared from Colliers View in Portlaoise on October 25th. She had been working in the town as a live-in nanny for a married couple.
From the outset her family described her disappearance as out of character. Along with her large circle of friends, they put up posters and appealed for information on social media.
As time elapsed and new evidence emerged, however, hopes of finding Ms Phelan alive dwindled and the investigation, which began as a missing-person case, became a murder investigation last weekend.
Gardaí arrested the local man on Monday and began searching a property and land off the Timahoe Road.
The man (24), who was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, was released without charge on Tuesday night. However, he was arrested last night.
Searches had been extended to include areas of land and the river Barrow under the M7 motorway near Monasterevin in Co Kildare.
The search in Co Kildare was cut short yesterday afternoon as the discovery of human remains was made at the site off the Timahoe Road.
State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy conducted a postmortem at the Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore.
Gardaí investigating the murder held a press conference to confirm the discovery of a body. Garda Supt David Taylor said: “Shortly after 11am this morning, gardaí as part of a search discovered a body at a location known as Timahoe Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois.
“The scene was immediately sealed off for a full technical examination which is now under way and the office of the State Pathologist has been notified and Dr Cassidy has arrived at the scene to carry out a preliminary examination.”
Supt Taylor confirmed the body had been found at a location where searches had been taking place last Monday.
He said the Phelan family had been made fully aware of all the developments this morning “and our family liaison officer is in constant contact with them”.
Gardaí were not making any further appeals, he added.
“We have had exceptional help from the public and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their immense help in this investigation.
“Without them we would not be able to progress the investigation.”
Gardaí sealed off a section of road on the Timahoe Road close to where the discovery was made. It was reopened before 6pm yesterday.
Ms Phelan’s family and friends gathered in large numbers at the Phelan household at Cashel, Ballyroan , Co Laois.
A neighbour said recent events had “cast a dark shadow over the community over the past fortnight and our thoughts and prayers are with the Phelan family.”