Gardaí have said it is likely to be later this week before they are able to confirm whether human remains found in east Cork on Monday are those of Kieran Quilligan (47), who went missing from Cork city almost five months ago.
It is understood Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster completed her postmortem on the man’s body at Cork University Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, but the remains were badly decomposed and DNA tests will be necessary to confirm the man’s identity.
Dr Bolster has taken samples at postmortem and they are being sent to Forensic Science Ireland’s laboratory to see if they provide a match with DNA samples provided by members of Mr Quilligan’s family. Itmay be Thursday before the results are obtained, said a source.
Gardaí will await confirmation of the man’s identity before they formally launch a murder investigation, but it is understood the remains did reveal the man was the victim of foul play.
Garda sources say they do not believe the man was killed where his body was found around midday on Monday, just off the main Midleton to Whitegate Road in east Cork by a cadaver dog and his handler as part of a planned Garda search for Mr Quilligan.
Garda technical experts were called in to preserve the area where the body was found before Dr Bolster carried out a preliminary examination of the body in situ and the man’s remains were brought to Cork University Hospital for the postmortem.
On Tuesday, Garda technical experts were continuing to comb the cordoned-off area where the body was found for any clues that might assist them in identifying who dumped the man’s body on the fringes of the woodland area, which is not far from Rostellan village.
Mr Quilligan, who was originally from Bakers Road in Gurranebraher, was last seen alive on CCTV footage at St Finbarr’s Place, near St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, at around 9.15pm on September 1st, after he left his accommodation at Cork Simon’s Emergency Shelter on Anderson’s Quay at 8.30pm.
Gardaí have traced Mr Quilligan’s movements in the company of another man, from the Mahon area of Cork, across the city centre to French’s Quay and Proby’s Quay, where he is seen going up steps but fails to exit at the top on to Fort Street.
CCTV footage from Fort Street and nearby Dean Street was examined and gardaí focused their investigation on whether Mr Quilligan was assaulted by a group of up to four men and bundled into a car which left the area via either Barrack Street or Gillabbey Street.
It is understood gardaí are keeping an open mind on a motive for any assault and abduction, but one line of inquiry they are looking at is whether Mr Quilligan, who had a heroin addiction, may have fallen foul of a criminal gang.
During a court appearance in June when he was charged with a break-in at a cafe, Mr Quilligan told the court he was on a methadone treatment programme but gardaí suspect he may have still been struggling with a heroin addiction at the time of his disappearance.
Mr Quilligan was in receipt of social welfare and failed to collect any payments due to him since his disappearance at the start of September.
Detectives have spoken to the man who was last seen with Mr Quilligan and have taken a witness statement from him, as well as from staff at Cork Simon, who reported him missing on September 4th, and over 70 other people who have assisted them with their inquiry.