The tragic teenager’s brothers, sisters, relatives and friends will gather at the home of one of his aunts for a private wake today and tomorrow as they prepare for his funeral early next week.
Orphaned Daniel, aged 17, who was in the care of the HSE, disappeared after failing to return to his accommodation on February 26, and was quickly feared to have come to harm.
Despite exhaustive searches, his body was only discovered by chance by a man out walking on May 13. He had been left in a ditch at Rathfeigh, Co Meath.
Early results from a postmortem examination on his remains revealed he had been repeatedly stabbed but his remains were retained for detailed forensics examinations and his funeral arrangements were only finalised yesterday.
Daniel’s removal will take place next Monday evening to the Church of the Annunciation in the Dublin suburb of Finglas West at 5.30pm, and he will be buried in Glasnevin Cemetery on Tuesday morning following funeral Mass at 11.15am.
His aunt, Pamela Higginbotham, yesterday wrote on the special webpage the family set up that the many friends, supporters and well-wishers who gathered around them in recent months were welcome to attend the services to say their farewells.
“Just to let everyone know, Daniel’s funeral is not private as some people believed it was. The family home on Saturday is family and immediate friends only but everyone is welcome to the mass Monday evening and funeral Tuesday morning,” she wrote.
It also emerged that, of the five surviving McAnaspie siblings, the younger brother who was closest in age to Daniel, is preparing a tribute to be read out at the funeral. In an emotional message written to Daniel, Ms Higginbotham told him how hard it was to put pen to paper.
“So heartbreaking to help a 16-year-old boy write something for his 17-year-old brother’s funeral. Life can be so hard and cruel at times. Why is it always the good ones that are taken away from us. My heart breaks when I look at your pictures. All your little cousins constantly ask when are they going to see you again. God love them, they don’t understand. I’m 32 and I don’t understand sometimes.”
She said although it would break the family’s heart to say goodbye, it would be a comfort to them to put Daniel to rest.
In memory of Daniel, the family has asked that only relatives send flowers and that anyone else who wants to pay tribute make a donation to the Fr Peter McVerry Trust for homeless young people instead.