Renewed appeal in baby Maria case

Gardaí are hopeful that forensic tests and technical examinations will glean some clues as to the identity of a mother who abandoned her newborn baby on a remote road in west Dublin, over a week ago.

Senior officers again emphasised that gardaí are not conducting a criminal investigation and the mother had “absolutely nothing to fear”.

Gardaí and social workers renewed appeals yesterday, calling on the mother to seek medical attention and begin a “conversation” with care workers.

Gardaí were planning to release a photograph of the baby yesterday, but were unable to do so without judicial authority.

The investigation team in the ‘baby Maria’ case remain hopeful a number of lines of inquiry may bear some fruit. These include:

  • Forensic examinations on the items the baby was wrapped in — a blue blanket, a brown throw, a black bin liner, and a paper bag — in the hope of isolating DNA, fingerprint, and fibre samples;
  • Checks on barcodes on the items in the hope they can identify where they were bought and when, which may allow for an examination of CCTV at cash desks;
  • A technical examination of CCTV cameras near Steelstown Lane in Rathcoole and an exhaustive check on owners of identified vehicles.

Gardaí conducted a leaflet inquiry with motorists along Steelstown Lane between 2pm and 3.30pm yesterday in the hope it might prompt information from drivers who may have travelled the road at the same time the previous week.

The head of Clondalkin Child Protection Unit, Sgt Maeve O’Sullivan, yesterday led appeals to the mother: “It has been seven days since the discovery of the baby girl and we would like to thank the public for their assistance,” she said. “We have received a number of phone calls and we continue to follow through on these phone calls, but to date the mum has not come forward.

“I’m here today to ask the mum to contact Clondalkin Garda Station. We can assist in guiding her and help her to seek the assistance and necessary support groups,” she said yesterday.

She said gardaí were anxious for her welfare. “We are appealing to anybody, any family, friends, sisters or brothers, that may have information, we are asking them; please come forward and assist us in identifying the mum of this baby girl.”

She said there was “no need” for the mother to be afraid: “I’m here to help, the gardaí are here to help.”

She said the baby, still in Coombe Hospital after last Friday’s find, was “doing very well”.

Rita Byrne, principal social worker with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, said her appeal was for the mother to come forward and “begin a conversation” with social workers about her daughter’s future. She said it was also important for the mother’s “physical and psychological wellbeing”.

Supt Brendan Connolly repeated that it was not a “criminal investigation”.

  • Sgt Maeve O’ Sullivan can be contacted in Clondalkin on 01 6667600 or Tusla can be contacted on 01 6206387.

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