Gardaí investigating the discovery of the remains of a woman and a baby at their home in Dublin 15 at the weekend believe they died from ingesting a substance and are treating the case as a suspected murder and suicide.
The victims have been named locally as Kate Donohoe, who was in her 40s, and her son Vincent, who was 11 months old. Ms Donohoe was well known in the Clonee area and was known for her love of dogs, especially greyhounds. She offered advice to many dog owners as well as volunteering at Meath Dog Shelter.
The shelter issued a brief statement saying its personnel were “deeply saddened to hear the news of the loss” of Ms Donohoe and her son. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her friends, and those in the community affected by her passing. Rest in peace,” it added.
The remains of Ms Donohoe and her son were found in an upstairs bedroom at a property in Beechfield Court, Clonee, at about 3pm on Saturday. It is believed the mother and boy may have been dead for a number of days before their bodies were found.
Gardaí are treating the death of Vincent as a suspected homicide. Foul play by a third party was not suspected in the death of Ms Donohoe and, as such, gardaí are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
The Garda inquiry under way is criminal in nature as the deceased boy’s death is a suspected murder. Although the inquiry is unlikely to lead to any criminal charges, its findings would still be used to inform the inquest process.
Detectives were awaiting the full set of results from postmortems, including toxicology tests, before determining the direction of the investigation.
While the results of such tests can take some time, Garda sources said they did not believe the mother and child had died of natural causes. The inquiry is focused on what they ingested before their deaths and a number of items, including medicines, have been taken from the property for analysis.
The house where the bodies were found remained sealed off as a crime scene.
The alarm was raised on Saturday afternoon after concerns grew among those known to Ms Donohoe when they had been unable to contact her for. When gardaí and paramedics went to the property after being alerted by a local person they found the bodies in a bedroom.
Ms Donohoe and Vincent were pronounced dead at the scene and the house was sealed off as a crime scene. A number of Ms Donohoe’s dogs were in the house at the time, and they were taken away to be cared for elsewhere.
The bodies remained at the house until Saturday night, where a preliminary examination was carried out by a pathologist. They were then removed late on Saturday to undergo full postmortems.
The property has undergone a forensic examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau. Gardaí have contacted members of the woman and child’s family, and a Garda family liaison officer has been appointed.
“The outcomes of a postmortem examination will determine the course of Garda investigations into both deaths,” a Garda statement said, adding that no further information was available at this stage of the inquiry.