‘Bone detective’ to try to identify body

A “BONE detective” is being drafted in to help gardaí identify the remains of a man that were recovered off the Cliffs of Moher over one year ago.

The remains lie in a freezer at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick as gardaí and the Clare county coroner continue their efforts to have the man’s identity confirmed.

Coroner Isobel O’Dea confirmed yesterday that her office has sent scans of the remains through to Caroline Wilkinson, professor of craniofacial identification at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

The centre is home to some of Europe’s most experienced experts in the fields of human identification, craniofacial reconstruction and forensic anthropology.

The centre has helped in high profile missing person cases and Ms Wilkinson’s own work is in the field of facial anthropology, or the science of human faces.

From the scans sent through by Ms O’Dea, she will attempt to reconstruct the man’s face.

This will allow Interpol to circulate the image of the reconstructed face to police agencies across Europe as gardaí believe the man may be from the Continent.

The badly decomposed body was recovered by members of the Doolin coast guard unit on July 30 last year off the Cliffs of Moher after the body was seen floating in the water.

Ms O’Dea said yesterday: “It is a very sad case and I’m hoping that Prof Wilkinson’s work will hopefully give us a picture of what the man looked like.”

Inspector Tom Kennedy said that “all checks on the remains by gardaí have failed to get a match”.

Insp Kennedy said the body was in the water for about 10 days and it was not possible to get fingerprints from the remains.

The remains had no clothing on that may helped to identify him.

Insp Kennedy said: “We do know it is a white adult male, but we don’t know his age. No one reported this man missing.”

Due to the injuries sustained, it is likely that the man fell off the cliffs.

State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy performed a postmortem on the man in August of last year. Nothing is known of the man’s last movements.

The investigation has also involved forensic orthodontist, Paul Keogh, taking dental impressions in order to make a match to other missing persons.

However, Insp Kennedy said gardaí have been unable to find a dental or DNA match for the man.

If the authorities are unable to identify the man, it is likely his remains will be buried at Drumcliffe cemetery in Ennis.

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