The grim discovery was made in dense undergrowth near Inch beach just 10 miles from the boy’s home in Midleton in East Cork.
Local curate, Fr Billy O’Donovan, who administered the last rites at the scene, visited the Holohan family home last night.
“They are absolutely devastated, it’s just his parents, Mark and Majella, and grandparents here and they want to keep things private,” he said.
Fr O’Donovan said there was no doubt the body had been dumped at the scene. He added that the disappearance of Robert had a devastating effect on the area.
“This is going to be worse. Parents have got fearful and suspicious and untrusting. I just worry for parents and above all, for Mark and Majella,” he said.
State Pathologist Marie Cassidy will this morning carry out a post mortem on the body, which was left at the scene overnight until members of the Garda Technical Bureau arrive at the scene today. A garda forensic team will also examine the remote scene in Ballintra East.
It is believed the killer drove to the isolated spot and dumped the body in shallow scrub, just feet from the road which leads to Inch Strand.
Volunteers searching for the 11-year-old discovered the body shortly after 2pm yesterday. They spotted a limb protruding from the dense undergrowth. The body was that of a young boy matching Robert’s
description and wearing the same clothes Robert was wearing the day he disappeared.
The garda incident room in Midleton was contacted at 2.15pm and officers immediately went to scene. Superintendent Kevin Donohoe said the body had been discovered by two volunteers who had been part of the week-long search.
“We have an area at Inch beach cordoned off and we commenced a technical examination. The body is lying in an inaccessible area, so at this stage I can’t confirm either age or gender,” said Supt Donohoe.
A second body was discovered hours later in Midleton town. The body of local man, in his 60s, was found in the Owenacurra river 50 yards downstream from the town-centre bridge shortly before 5pm.
Last night, gardaí said they had established no link between the two discoveries.
Robert Holohan went missing from his home on January 4, sparking one of the biggest searches in the history of the State.