The body of Margaret (Margo) Seery were exhumed from a family grave at St Mary’s Church Cemetery in Rathkeale and brought under Garda escort to University Hospital Limerick where the autopsy was performed by Dr Michael Curtis, the deputy state pathologist.
Dr Curtis, accompanied by a forensic anthropologist, spent over an hour inspecting the remains after the grave was opened. The body was then removed to the hospital.
A close relative visited the grave site yesterday and other relatives were due to say prayers there last night when the remains were due to be reinterred.
The death of Mrs Seery, aged 42 on October 8, 1994, was found to be accidental and an autopsy concluded she died from asphyxia.
However, a cold case investigation was commenced some months ago when a man went to a Garda station in Dublin and made voluntary statements which corroborated certain events on the night Mrs Seery died after being out socialising with friends.
It is believed he has been receiving psychiatric care.
“Mrs Seery was the daughter of Ciss and Michael Guinane who ran a newsagents shop in Main Street, Rathkeale.
“Her parents are dead but one of her brothers is also a well-known musician in West Limerick,” said one local.
She had separated from her husband but it is believed the split was amicable. Mrs Seery had one daughter, who now lives in Australia.
Her body was found in an apartment in Terenure and a coroner’s court hearing ruled out foul play having heard medical evidence.
Gardaí put in a request for an exhumation order to West Limerick coroner, Brendan Nix, some weeks ago.
Mr Nix said: “The gardaí dealt with this in a very professional manner and the statement I got was very thorough and I had no hesitation in putting in a request to the minister for justice for an order to exhume the remains.
“Work then had to be carried out to identify where the grave was and where the remains were positioned in the grave.
“The State pathologist’s office also had to be notified so as to arrange for the pathologist to attend the burial site.”
The operation was supervised by Detective Inspector George McGeary, who is heading the investigation.
Gardaí are awaiting the results of the autopsy.