DNA samples to be taken in renewed Kerry Baby inquiry

By Anne Lucey

DNA samples have been requested from several locals in south Kerry as part of a renewed inquiry into the death of the ‘Kerry Baby’, also known as Baby John.

The renewed inquiry has turned up new information, say senior investigators.

The days-old baby was found with multiple stab wounds on the White Strand in Cahersiveen on April 14, 1984. Now DNA tests are being used to try to establish the parents of the infant who would have turned 34 this month.

The circumstances surrounding his murder also remain unresolved.

Baby John's grave.

In January, gardaí, assisted by the serious crime review team known as the ‘Cold Case Team’, said they had obtained “a viable DNA profile” of the baby from a sample taken in the original investigation.

The DNA analysis ruled out Joanne Hayes, the north Kerry woman wrongly suspected of being his mother, gardaí said in January. The gardaí issued an apology to Ms Hayes for the stress she has endured.

Gardaí told the press conference in January that they believe, and have long believed, that the answer lies locally.

Supt Walter O’Sullivan of the Serious Crime Review team, who is from south Kerry, said gardaí would not be looking outside Iveragh for the answers: “The truth lies in south Kerry, in Iveragh.”

Kerry Chief Supt Tom Hayes has now said the investigation is “very active at the moment”.

Chief Supt Myers also revealed that the cold case review team is still very much involved in the ongoing inquiry.

Investigators have interviewed “numerous people” and are acting not just on the extensive files of material in the original investigation but have also been given new information.

Supt Flor Murphy, of Killarney Garda, who is leading the investigation, has now confirmed to this journalist that DNA samples have been taken from a number of people and that “sampling is continuing”.

The numbers involved are “in the double figures,” Superintendent Murphy said.

People are being asked to provide samples in accordance with the terms of the legislation which has a voluntary element. Analysis takes several weeks and a number of people have been ruled out.

While mass sampling can take place under the provisions of the 2014 legislation Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act, this has not been employed in Cahersiveen.

The sampling to determine the parentage of the child is selective and people are being approached as a result of investigation and enquiries. People are also coming forward to rule themselves out.

Supt Murphy noted that it is possible that one or other of the baby’s parents are no longer alive or have moved from the area but that DNA from relatives, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents could pinpoint the parentage.

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