Gardaí investigating the death of six-year-old Matthew Healy near Dunmore East in Co Waterford last week are hoping to interview a suspect as early as today.
Detectives suspect the schoolboy was suffocated before he was found in the back seat of a car at Rathmoylan and the criminal investigation is focused on his death being the result of foul play.
A woman in her 30s, who initially raised the alarm, was arrested at the scene in the early hours of Friday. However, she needed to receive medical attention over the weekend and this means detectives have not yet had an opportunity to question her.
The woman was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984. This allows for a suspect to be questioned for up to 24 hours, a period which had not officially commenced as of last night.
Minister for Education Norma Foley TD yesterday extended her “very sincere sympathy to the family” of Matthew and “the school community”. Matthew was in senior infants at Faithlegg National School.
“I know Matthew was a much loved and treasured member of the school community and will be greatly greatly missed by his fellow pupils, by the staff, board of management and everyone within the school community,” the Minister said.
A psychologist from the National Educational Psychological Service was present at the school on Friday, advising the principal and staff on how they could best support pupils there. A vigil in memory of Matthew took place at Waterford’s Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Saturday night.
Detectives believe the arrested woman has crucial information that can unlock their investigation. She is the main person of interest and the investigating team is working on a definite line of inquiry. The woman immediately underwent mental and physical health checks when taken into custody.
Gardaí carried out a search and a technical examination at a property in the Waterford area over the weekend in an attempt to find evidence that could help to reveal how and why Matthew died.
The results of the postmortem on the boy’s body have not been released for operational reasons. While the examination was inconclusive, it is suspected that Matthew was suffocated.
Gardaí are trying to establish if the arrested woman was in the sea at some point before she went to local houses to raise the alarm. The emergency services received calls from local people just after midnight, with paramedics and gardaí rushing to the secluded location, some 20km outside Waterford city.