Gardaí have renewed their appeal for information in relation to the murder of 18-year-old Cameron Reilly in Dunleer, Co Louth early on Saturday and said his mobile phone, which has still not been found, may provide key information in the investigation.
They have also urged anyone who was with him to speak to gardaí or another person in the community in confidence, even if they may have consumed drink or drugs on the night in question.
Mr Reilly’s body was found early on Saturday morning. It is understood he had been with a group of people on Friday night and that there may have been an altercation outside a chip shop.
A postmortem has confirmed the teenager was strangled to death some time on Saturday morning.
Supt Andrew Watters renewed the Garda appeal for information on the murder of Mr Reilly and clarified a number of issues that had arisen in recent days.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon in Dunleer near the location where Mr Reilly's body was found, Supt Watters said that a full investigation had been under way since that time, based at an incident room in Drogheda Garda station.
“A significant amount of inquiries have been carried out. A significant number of people have been spoken to and interviewed and further inquiries are ongoing as we speak,” he said.
Supt Watters said people in the vicinity on Friday night and Saturday morning “may have consumed alcohol and drugs”.
“But I just want to make it clear to some of those people, maybe to encourage them to come forward and speak to us, that is not the primary concern or the primary focus of this investigation. The primary focus of this investigation is to establish for Cameron’s family the truth as to what happened to Cameron,” he said.
“Cameron died as a result of injuries to his neck area and a comprehensive forensic examination of the scene is still ongoing.”
Supt Watters said he wished to make a further appeal in two areas. He said there had been a little bit of misinformation in relation to Mr Reilly’s personal phone. The phone was an Apple iPhone 8 Plus, he said. It had previously been reported that the phone was an iPhone 8x, which does not exist.
He said the phone, which has not been found, was dark in colour with a very distinctive lime green surround.
“We are appealing to anybody to check bins – and we know there were bins collected this morning – but still to check bins, gardens, hedges, or if you are out walking and you come across a phone of this nature or any phone, we would ask you to not to touch it but to contact An Garda Síochána. The location of Cameron’s personal phone is key to our investigation,” he said.
He also appealed for anyone who may have information about Mr Reilly’s last movements, from when he was last seen at 12.20am on Saturday until 8.30am when his body was found, to come forward.
“We genuinely and firmly believe that there is vital information in the community here in Dunleer and I would appeal to anybody who has any information, irrespective of how little, or how trivial, or insignificant or significant you think it is. I would appeal to you to come forward and speak to us, or to speak to a parent, or to speak to a teacher or somebody within the community.”
Supt Watters said gardaí would gladly meet anybody with information on a confidential basis. Alternatively, people could contact Drogheda Garda station or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666111 or any Garda station.
“I want to thank the public generally but the close-knit community here in Dunleer for the fantastic assistance they have given us with our investigation. An Garda Síochána fully appreciate the effect such a tragic death has on Cameron’s family, on his friends, but also on such a close-knit community,” he said.
Gardaí have downloaded CCTV footage from several areas around the town in an effort to track Mr Reilly’s final movements.
His body was found by a dog-walker on Saturday morning in a field popular with young people for meeting up and drinking in the Co Louth village.
Speaking at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) conference, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said that in the context of three recent "brutal murders", there did not appear to be any relation between them "other than a common thread of behaviour of young people".
“I believe it’s important that as a society we would reflect on the way we treat our fellow citizens and I would hope that those responsible for the outstanding murders will be brought to justice at the earliest opportunity,” he said.