Mothers of missing sons await test on remains

TWO mothers of missing sons comforted each other in the desolate Dublin mountains yesterday after partial remains of an adult male were found there.

Gráinne Fetherston and Ashley Dempsey embraced each other as medical experts began the task of identifying the skeletal remains and gardaí continued to search for the remainder of the body.

The mothers, and their extended families, are waiting anxiously to see if the remains are that of their sons, Ken Fetherston and Paul Byrne.

Mr Fetherston, aged 26 and a father of a three- year-old daughter from nearby Tallaght, was last seen on September 22 2009 in the Knocklyon area, not far from the Dublin mountains.

Mr Byrne, 21, has not been seen since he left his home in Tallaght on July 15 last. The father of a 16-month-old baby vanished after getting into a car outside his home on Kilmartin Green. There are fears he may have been killed by a local gang.

The remains were found by a mother and her son who were out walking near Viewing Point on Military Road in Rathfarnham at around 2.30pm on Sunday.

Gardaí said only partial skeletal remains were found, namely the skull and part of the vertebrae, and that there was no tissue on the bones.

Garda sources said a preliminary postmortem, conducted yesterday morning, indicated the remains were those of an adult male, who had been there for several months, possibly up to a year.

The deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis is being assisted by forensic anthropologist Dr Laureen Buckley.

A full postmortem was conducted later yesterday and details of that were given to the investigation team at Tallaght Garda Station last night.

DNA samples will be taken from the remains and dental records will also be checked.

Some items of clothing and footwear, also found at the scene, will be subject to DNA and forensic examination. Gardaí are checking if these items correspond with descriptions given by families of missing people.

Further examination of the scene, which leads up to the Sally Gap, will be carried out.

The gardaí are calling on anyone with information to contact the incident room at Garda Tallaght Station on 01-6666056 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.


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