Woman whose husband killed daughter raises funds to exhume child

Rebecca Saunders ‘overwhelmed’ at reaching €42,000 target to help bury remains in US

Rebecca Saunders and her daughter Clarissa. File photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Rebecca Saunders and her daughter Clarissa. File photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 

An American woman whose Irish husband took his life and that of their three-year-old daughter says she is “overwhelmed” at having received $50,000 through fundraising to have her child’s remains transferred to the US.

Rebecca Saunders tweeted: “We’ve done it – thank you” as her GoFundMe page hit its €42,000 target following a massive reaction to her appearance on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live.

Ms Saunders, who lives in Houston in Texas, says eight years ago “in a fog of grief and shock” she permitted her child Clarissa to be buried “with the father she loved, but who took her life from her”.

Martin McCarthy, her former husband, drowned their daughter Clarissa at Audley Cove in west Cork on March 5th, 2013.

Three days later father and daughter shared a single coffin at a requiem Mass at St Mary’s Church in Schull.

In a suicide note left for Ms Saunders, Mr McCarthy wrote that: “If you can take Clarissa to America I can take Clarissa to Heaven.”

Ms Saunders recently set up the GoFundMe page to pay for legal counsel in order to apply for the remains of her daughter to be exhumed. The money will also pay for the exhumation and transfer costs to the US if her application is successful.

All funds not used in the process to exhume Clarissa will be donated to Edel House in Cork which supports victims of domestic violence and Cork University Maternity Hospital Neonatal Unit.

Support for anyone in distress can be obtained by contacting the Samaritans on 116 123 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247. People can also text the word Help to Pieta House on 51444.