Gardaí investigating the discovery of a human skeleton in East Cork have appealed for help identifying the remains after formally declaring they are not the remains of Tina Satchwell.
It was confirmed this morning that the bones found at Roxborough near Midleton on January 5 last belonged to a woman who was 70 or older at the time of her death.
Ms Satchwell was 47 when she was last seen at home in Youghal in East Cork on March 20, 2017.
Supt Adrian Gamble, who is leading the investigation, confirmed that gardaí are now conducting a criminal investigation into the discovery and the investigation team has all the resources available to that of a murder investigation.
“It’s a criminal investigation at this stage. The first thing we have to do is identify the remains,” he said.
Tests on the bones have revealed that the deceased was between five foot, and five foot two inches in height, she was large-framed, she wore dentures and suffered from arthritis.
Early indications suggest the woman died within the last 10-years but that date could change pending further tests.
DNA samples taken from the remains have been compared against the national DNA database but a positive match has not been obtained. Missing person’s records have also been examined but there are no potential matches yet.
A number of items of evidential interest were recovered along with the bones and gardaí have released an image of the faded, 50-inch long white nightgown or nightdress-type garment which the deceased was wearing on her upper body.
Supt Gamble asked people to examine the image and to contact gardaí with any information they feel may be relevant.
“We are determined to formally identify the deceased and treat her with the respect and dignity that she deserves,” Supt Gamble said.
“If you have any information on the matter, no matter how insignificant you think it is, I am asking that you please come forward and contact us.”
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, at an area known locally at the ‘tipping point’.
Gardaí immediately sealed off the scene and a painstaking search of the area was mounted in challenging weather conditions over the next nine days by members of Cork North Divisional Search Team.
The site was mapped and drone footage was used to create a 3D image of the area.
The scene was also examined by a forensic anthropologist and Garda scenes of crime examiners.
An incident room was established at Midleton Garda Station and a senior investigating officer was appointed to oversee the investigation.
The remains were removed to Cork University Hospital for examination by assistant state pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster. The results of a post mortem examination are not being released for operational reasons.
The services of the Garda Missing Persons Unit and the Garda National Protective Services Bureau have provided assistance, and certain evidential material is still undergoing forensic and DNA testing at the Forensics Science Ireland labs.
Members of the Midleton-based garda investigation team have conducted house-to-house enquiries in the area and a number of statements have been taken.
Supt Gamble said the investigation is ongoing and further scientific tests, including carbon dating, are being conducted as part of the investigation.
"Somebody in the community must know how this woman’s remains came to be at this location," he said.
"An Garda Síochána want to provide closure for a family that, at this early stage, remains unknown and ensure that the remains are brought to a final resting place."
Any person with information can contact investigating gardaí at the incident room at Midleton Garda Station 021–4621550, or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.