DNA proof solves mystery of missing man after 30 years

A 30-year-old mystery was solved at a Coroner’s inquest in Letterkenny in Co Donegal yesterday when DNA established that the body of a man washed ashore in 1983 is a direct relative of local man James McGlynn, whose brother went missing at that time.

Coroner John Cannon read the conclusion of a report on the DNA taken from James McGlynn and from the deceased man which concluded “my opinion is that these findings strongly support that James McGlynn had a relationship to the deceased, either a brother, father or son — it was that close a link”.

In 2010, Mr Cannon instructed samples be taken from the unidentified body which was buried in an unmarked grave in Dunfanaghy and compared with saliva samples given by James McGlynn.

Mr McGlynn has maintained for years that the body washed up in Dunfanaghy was that of his brother, Noel, who was 26 years old when he went missing. Noel McGlynn had been suffering from depression in the weeks before he disappeared from the family home in the Ballaghderg area of Letterkenny on Jun 17, 1983. It was nine days later when the body was washed up on the county’s west coast.

Solicitor for James McGlynn, Mr Kieran Dillon, told the inquest that the conclusion of the report was a new development.

“My client is relieved to have an outcome and it has brought great comfort and relief and answered a question that has been around for 29 years,” Mr Dillon said.

He asked the coroner to arrange a formal inquest into the death of Noel McGlynn and requested a copy of the DNA report.

Mr Cannon said the report put an end to the expectation of his client.

An upset James McGlynn then left the inquest which has been adjourned until April.

The coroner explained that the DNA samples were sent to a laboratory in Britain and when the report came back it was of such a technical nature he forwarded it to the forensic laboratory in Dublin, who then furnished him with the result.

Mr McGlynn previously paid tribute to Creeslough- based undertaker, Seamus Harkin, who helped him establish whether or not the body he buried could be that of James’ brother Noel.

Mr Harkin was the undertaker who buried the unidentified remains in Dunfanaghy almost 30 years ago.


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