The mother of missing six-year-old Mary Boyle says she knows the man who has been arrested in connection with her daughter’s disappearance in 1977.
A convicted sex offender is being questioned in connection with the disappearance of the child in Co Donegal 36 years ago.
The man, who is in his 60s, is serving a sentence in Midlands Prison. He was detained at Mullingar Garda Station on the suspicion of Mary Boyle’s kidnapping. He is serving a sentence for abusing a number of children.
Speaking from her home in Belcruit, Kincasslagh, Ann Boyle revealed how gardaí made her aware some weeks ago that they were close to arresting a man. “The gardaí told me who he was and that they were close to arresting him,” she said. “They telephoned me this morning to tell me they were about to arrest him. I know him from growing up when I was younger.”
Mrs Boyle said she hopes the man can give gardaí the information they need to finally solve the mystery of her daughter’s disappearance. She said she does not know if her daughter is still alive.
“I live with the hope that she is alive. After all, not a ribbon or anything else was found belonging to Mary so she could still be alive. If she is dead then I just want her back to give her a Christian burial. That is all I want in my life now.”
Mrs Boyle revealed that, just last week, she visited the area where her daughter went missing.
“I’m often up there because that’s where my family come from. I was there a week ago. I just hope that perhaps I can go there someday when Mary has been found.”
She also revealed how her late husband Charlie, who died in a fishing accident in 2005, aged 62, would have been hopeful now that there has been a breakthrough in the case.
“Charlie was my rock and he helped me get through everything after Mary went missing. I just hope we can find an end to this now. It’s all that he ever wanted.”
Mary was six when she went missing while visiting her grandparents’ home in Cashelard, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, on March 18 in 1977. The identical twin, from Belcruit, Kincasslagh, Co Donegal, had travelled to Cashelard with her parents and siblings. At about 3.30pm she followed her uncle, who had gone to a neighbour’s house to return a ladder. The neighbour’s house was less than 500m away. Near the house, she told her uncle she was turning back. She was never seen again. She would be 43 now and the case is Ireland’s longest-running missing child investigation.
Garda assistant commissioner Kieran Kenny said new information had recently come to light on the case. “New lines of evidence have emerged which have led us to where we are here today, in that a man in his 60s was arrested this morning in relation to the kidnapping of Mary Boyle in Donegal in 1977,” he said.
The arrest follows a 2011 review of Mary Boyle’s disappearance.
The review team interviewed a wide range of people and conducted a number of searches with the assistance of forensic and geology experts.
Mr Kenny confirmed the arrest was the first in the case. “Obviously, for us to arrest somebody we need to have some evidence to do that. This is a line of enquiry that has led from new evidence that came up in the review.”
The man who is being detained at Mullingar Garda Station was arrested at around 12pm. He is being held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and can be questioned for a maximum of 24 hours.
In January 2011 a new dig was prompted by information from a Danish psychic hired by country singer Margo O’Donnell, Daniel’s sister, a relative of the Boyle family.
* Anyone with information is asked to contact Ballyshannon Garda Station at 071 9858530 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.
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