By Anne Lucey
Gardaí are beginning house-to-house enquiries on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry this morning in relation to the death of the Kerry baby, also known as Baby John.
These are the first door-to-door inquiries in 34 years in the cold case of the days old baby found stabbed on a strand near Cahersiveen.
Gardaí involved in the renewed investigation will hand out questionnaires to up to 400 houses on the island nearest to White Strand, where the body of the baby was discovered in April 1984.
The child had suffered multiple stab wounds and the enquiry into his murder led to the Kerry babies case after a young Abbeydorney woman was wrongly accused by gardaí of giving birth to two boys by different fathers.
His grave was vandalised in 2004.
The enquiry into the death of Baby John re-opened this January accompanied by an apology by gardaí to the woman Joanne Hayes.
Gardaí in January said they believe the answers to his death lie in Iveragh.
The renewed inquiry is based in an incident room and involves officers from the Dublin-based Cold Case or Serious Crime Review Team as well as experienced detectives from the Kerry Division.
A number of DNA samples have been taken in the attempt to establish the infant’s parentage and a number of people have come forward offering samples in order to be ruled out, while others have been approached.
Supt Flor Murphy of Killarney, who is heading up the investigation, said this morning the enquiries on Valentia were “part of the general investigation.”
He said: “The investigation into Baby John is continuing.
“Over 9,000 investigative hours have been expended on the investigation and 225 separate lines of enquiry 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.
“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. People have carried a lot of pain and hurt over the last 30 years.
“This is an opportunity for them to help bring closure to this terrible event and ensure Baby John receives justice.
“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 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.
“Please help us find that truth for Baby John by contacting us here in Caherciveen on 066 9473610.”
The team have in their possession the original garda logbook of the investigation, it has previously been confirmed.
The logbook details the names of those interviewed and those to be re-interviewed in the locality.
A number of those follow up interviews never took place as the concentration shifted to Abbeydorney and Tralee and Joanne Hayes.