UK police call for DNA to help identify bodies of seven poeple they believe may be Irish

UK police call for DNA to help identify bodies of seven poeple they believe may be Irish

Update: Police in Wales are looking for help identifying the bodies of seven people they think might be Irish.

All of them washed up on beaches in north Wales.

Detectives trying to identify them are urging relatives of missing persons to give their DNA samples to the Garda Missing Persons Bureau. The samples will then in turn be passed onto detectives from North Wales Police.

They already have DNA samples for three of the seven bodies but will need an exhumation licence to get DNA samples from the others.

The appeal comes follows on from the successful identification of an Irishman missing for 36 years.

Conor Whooley vanished from Dublin in August 1983. Although his body was found on a beach in Anglesey, it was not identified as his at the time. And he was buried in a grave in the Menai Bridge Cemetery on the north west coastal island.

The 24-year-old, one of seven children, had been living in Dublin when he vanished. His family in Greystones, Co Wicklow, had been desperately trying to find out what had happened to him ever since.

Detectives trying to discover the identity of bodies found in Wales as part of Operation Orchid discovered the link after publicity surrounding their search for a missing Norwegian sailor.

In 2013, they had exhumed a body buried at Menai Bridge Cemetery so they could get a DNA sample. It turned out not to be the sailor they thought it might be but the resulting publicity, however, led to Mr Whooley’s mother providing DNA two years ago. His brother Sean also gave DNA and detectives were able to confirm the remains are that of Conor a few weeks ago.

The discovery was made possible as a result of publicity in Ireland and collaboration between Gardai, Forensic Science Ireland and North Wales Police.

Detective Constable Don Kenyon, the investigating officer for Operation Orchid, said: “We have been in contact with the family of Conor Whooley and they are receiving support from the Garda Missing Persons Unit. I hope this positive news will encourage other families of missing people to provide DNA samples to help solve other outstanding cases in North Wales and beyond."

In a statement, Conor’s family also urged other people to come forward with DNA samples: “(We) would like to sincerely thank North Wales Police for their tremendous efforts helping to identify the remains of their son and brother, Conor."

A family spokesman added: "Conor’s family are relieved to know his final resting place. They would encourage families of the missing to contact the authorities to add their names to the DNA database.”

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