Gardaí were last night awaiting the results of an postmortem on Christy Daly, 47, before deciding on the course of their investigation.
The Clara man, a father of six who was known to gardaí, was found in a drain 100m from a burnt caravan and two burnt out cars at Bog Rd, Kilbride in Clara.
Gardaí attended the scene after concerns were raised about his whereabouts. They discovered Mr Daly in the 6ft-deep drain at 8.45am yesterday.
The area was sealed off and Professor Marie Cassidy, the state pathologist, was called in to conduct a preliminary examination.
Mr Daly’s remains were removed to the Midlands Regional Hospital at Tullamore after 3pm.
Supt Dave Taylor said the man came from a large family and not all of his relatives had yet been informed of his death as they are “located at different locations.”
He confirmed a Garda Family Liaison Officer has been appointed.
When asked if the man’s criminal background would form a major part of the investigation, Supt Taylor said “we will rule in nothing and rule out nothing”.
He said “the results of the postmortem will determine the nature and direction of this investigation”.
“The postmortem will give important information as to how long the body may have lay there. So until the postmortem is in we are not in a position to give specific and definitive dates,” he said. “I would say that Sunday, Dec 29 is an important date, and the days leading up to that.
“The body was in a drain, quite a deep drain, about 6ft-deep. It’s a bog area out there, we have had such inclement weather in the last week it hasn’t made the recovery effort easy.”
One local man said Mr Daly had “kept a low profile” since returning to the area following his release from the Midlands Prison before Christmas having served a sentence for false imprisonment.
The area where his body was found is isolated and surrounded by a bog. A small lane leading down to the site provides the only access to the site.
According to Independent Cllr Dervil Dolan, “there is a sense of shock in the Clara community arising from this incident.”
“Clara is a quiet country town and Kilbride is a rural area just outside the town and people from the area are shocked that something like this could happen.”
Gardaí have appealed to anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity at Bog Rd, Kilbride Lane, in the days leading up to Sunday, Dec 29 and in particular the days since then, to come forward.
Gardaí are asking anyone with information or who may have witnessed burning vehicles in the area to come forward and said all information received would be treated in the strictest confidence.
An incident room has been set up at Tullamore Garda Station and gardaí can be contacted at 057 9327600, or on the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111 or at any station.