Detectives investigating the death of a 12-year-old girl in Dublin arrested a young man tonight.
The suspect, who is in his late teens, was detained after the body of the missing child, named locally as Michaela Davis, was found in thick undergrowth on a steep bank near the Royal Canal in west Dublin this afternoon.
Michaela left her home in the Blanchardstown area at around midnight last night, telling family members she would be back soon, but never returned.
After a day-long search involving gardaí, a member of the public discovered her body less than a mile away from her home at around 4pm.
The scene, close to a railway track, is across a piece of waste ground from her family home in the modern Village development off the Porterstown Road.
The arrested teenager is being questioned at Blanchardstown Garda Station.
Detectives were trying to piece together Michaela’s final moments while the State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, was working to establish the cause of her death.
Tearful children were among stunned bystanders watching as officers conducted a painstaking examination of the area.
The girl’s body was removed from the scene tonight and taken to Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, where a post-mortem examination will be carried out tomorrow morning.
It is understood Michaela had been out with friends earlier last night but had returned home. At around midnight she then apparently said she was stepping out again for a while.
When she had not returned by 2am, her family contacted police at Blanchardstown Garda Station.
Local councillor David McGuinness said the community was stunned.
“This is a real tragedy,” said the Fianna Fáil representative.
“A young girl has lost her life and that is so sad.”
Councillor Matthew Waine passed on his condolences.
“My thoughts are foremost with this young girl’s family,” said the Socialist Party member.
“Local people will be deeply shocked that something like this has happened. While these sort of tragedies are rare and the circumstance are not yet clear, it reminds us just how vulnerable young people in our society are.”