Gardaí believe 14-year-old schoolgirl Anastasia ‘Ana’ Kriegel was beaten to death last Monday in the spot where her remains were found near a suburban Dublin park at lunchtime on Thursday.
The dead girl's body lay undiscovered in a derelict farmhouse less than 1km from St Catherine's Park in Lucan, where she was last seen alive at about 5.30pm on Monday.
However, while she had been the subject of a missing person’s inquiry for three days, detectives now believe she was murdered shortly after she vanished on Monday.
Adopted as a two-year-old from Russia by Irish and French parents, Ana’s remains were naked when they were discovered. A possible sexual motive to her murder is being explored.
Gardaí also believe she was not alone in St Catherine’s Park, Lucan, when last seen alive. Their inquiries are now examining her last known movements and specifically who she was with.
A first year student at Confey Community College, Leixlip, gardaí said she was very popular and well known in her peer group.
Her body remained at the scene where it was found by the Garda search team until State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy arrived to carry out a preliminary examination.
Gardaí said it was only when the remains had been removed and a full postmortem carried out that the cause of death would be confirmed and the suspicious death inquiry would be upgraded to murder. However, Garda sources said Ana had been beaten to death.
Supt John Gordon of Lucan Garda station urged the media to afford complete privacy to Anna’s family. Her parents were distraught and also had another younger child they wanted to protect.
He added Ana’s family had reported her missing at about 8pm on Monday, just three hours after she left their home at Newtown Park, Leixlip, and failed to return.
Supt Gordon said a missing person inquiry had begun and searches were carried out in the area.
“During the course of that search at 1pm they discovered a body at a vacant farmhouse here on the Clonee Road in Lucan,” he told the media close to the scene.
“We believe the body to be that of Ana Kriegel. We are at this time treating the death as suspicious.”
He appealed to anyone who had known Ana or had seen her around St Catherine’s Park on Monday to come forward.
“She was a particularly striking girl; quite tall for her age and very well known in the locality because of that,” Supt Gordon said.
“She was a very well known person in her school and to everyone in the community.
“We believe at the time [she was last seen alive] she may not have been alone. But that’s part of the investigation.”
Asked were there concerns for other people in the Lucan area because of the violent nature of the crime, Supt Gordon, said he would always advise people to be careful.
He added the searching since Monday had been extensive. It had involved the Garda divisional search team, members of which found Ana’s remains.
The National Bureau of Crime Investigation, the force’s serious crimes squad, was also aiding the investigation.
During the searching the Garda Water Unit, including divers, had been drafted in to search parts of the nearby River Liffey and Royal Canal. And the Civil Defence had also aided the searching.
The scene where Ana’s remains were found was expected to be sealed off for several days at the Garda Technical Bureau examined it forensically.