Gardaí investigating the discovery of skeletal remains in East Cork have recovered a near-complete skeleton after another significant find of bones further deepened the mystery.
The search of the site has now ended as the focus switches to the results of DNA tests on the remains.
The latest find on Friday was the third significant recovery of a collection of remains during the painstaking search of a site near Midleton since January 5.
While gardaí remain tightlipped on the details, it is believed this latest find has only deepened the mystery of who this person may have been.
They are working on the belief that all the remains found belong to the same individual, and while it was initially believed that the remains were those of a male, the various discoveries since have led gardaí to suspect that the remains are those of an older female, pending official DNA analysis.
Samples taken from various bones have now been sent for specialist tests at the Forensic Science Ireland labs.
These samples will be used to generate a DNA profile which will then be compared to the national DNA database. The process will take a number of weeks.
The outcome of this process could determine the course of the investigation.
“Samples have been sent for analysis and gardaí are awaiting their results,” a garda spokesman said.
“No further details are being released as this is an ongoing investigation.”
The investigation was launched on January 5 after a skull was discovered by workmen doing clearance work along the old Midleton to Youghal rail line, close to the Shanty Bridge, for the proposed Midleton to Youghal greenway.
Gardaí immediately sealed off the scene and began a painstaking search of the area.
Within days, a collection of other bones, together with shards of cloth or material, possibly a skirt or a dress, were found along with a piece of religious jewellery, reported to be a crucifix on a chain.
This discovery led to the suspicion that the remains were those of a female.
But Friday's discovery has only deepened the mystery of who the person was, or how their remains came to be found here.
While there were no signs of trauma or physical injury on the skull, gardaí have not commented on whether the other bones show signs of trauma, or whether foul play may have been involved in the woman’s death.
Missing persons files from over the last two to three decades are now being compiled in the hope that the DNA and forensic analysis will help focus the investigation.
The file on Tina Satchwell, who was last seen at her home in Youghal on March 20, 2017, will be on the list but the Roxborough remains are believed to be those of an older woman.
Work is set to resume soon on the €19.8m greenway which is being developed by Cork County Council.
It will ultimately connect Midleton, Mogeely, Killeagh and Youghal and is expected to be open in late 2022.