“After all these years, Baby John deserves the truth. Please help us find that truth for Baby John.”
Those were the words of Superintendent Flor Murphy, who is leading the cold case investigation into the murder of a baby in South Kerry 34 years ago as he appealed for information to solve the case.
The cold case investigation, which opened in January, has already notched up 9,000 hours.
Yesterday, 20 gardaí began making door to door enquiries on Valentia Island.
More than 400 houses will be canvassed and given questionnaires over the coming days in relation to the death of an infant who became known as the Kerry Baby, and later given the name John.
Other areas may be also targeted for a specific canvass, Supt Murphy confirmed.
This is the first fresh inquiry since the discovery of the days-old baby found stabbed on a strand near Caherciveen in April 1984. Valentia is alongside the White Strand where the body was discovered.
One theory is the body, which was found in a plastic bag, was washed across the channel. However, others still maintain the body was placed on the beach.
The male infant suffered multiple stab wounds.
The inquiry into his murder led to the Kerry Babies Case after a young woman, Joanne Hayes, from Abbeydorney, in North Kerry, was wrongly accused by gardaí of giving birth to two boys by different fathers.
Ms Hayes had given birth to a stillborn boy on her farm and was also accused of being the mother of Baby John, despite both babies having different blood types.
The inquiry into the death of Baby John re-opened in January accompanied by an apology from gardaí to Ms Hayes.
Gardaí said they now believe the answers to his death lie in Iveragh.
A number of DNA samples have been taken by the cold case team in an attempt to establish the infant’s parentage, which remains a crucial part of the investigation.
A number of people from Caherciveen and the wider area have come forward in order to be ruled out, while others have been approached by investigators.
The team have in their possession the original garda logbook of the investigation, which contains details of the names of those interviewed at the time and those the original investigators wanted to re-interview in the locality. A number of those follow-up interviews never took place as the concentration shifted to Abbeydorney and Tralee and Ms Hayes.
Yesterday, Supt Murphy said significant work has been undertaken since January by the local investigation team supported by the Serious Crime Review Team.
“Over 9,000 investigative hours have been expended on the investigation and 225 separate lines of inquiry are being actively progressed. Selective DNA sampling is ongoing and this is a key focus of the investigation.
“The investigation is still appealing for information from the public. We still believe that members of the community in South Kerry have information about the identity of the mother of Baby John.
“Baby John lived for five days so someone, somewhere, knows about his very short life.
“Someone is Baby John’s mother. Someone is Baby John’s father. Someone knew his mother or father.
“Even the smallest piece of information could be of major assistance to us. Anyone who comes forward will be treated with sensitivity and in the strictest of confidence. We have specially trained personnel available who are trained in dealing with difficult and sensitive issues in a compassionate and professional manner.
“After all these years, Baby John deserves the truth,” Supt Murphy said. “Please help us find that truth for Baby John by contacting us here in Caherciveen on 066 9473610.”