DNA samples taken from residents of Valentia island in Kerry Babies investigation

DNA samples taken from residents of Valentia island in Kerry Babies investigation

GARDAI investigating the infamous Kerry Babies case from the 1980's have taken a number of DNA samples from residents of Valentia island.

In recent days, Gardai have been conducting door-to-door inquiries and taking DNA samples from a small but significant number of people on the south-Kerry island.

The inquiries are reported to be part of a renewed investigation into the case of the body of a baby washed up on a beach in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry in April, 1984.

The lifeless body of the baby, named Baby John by the undertaker, was discovered face down on White Strand with 28 stab wounds.

On the same day as Baby John was found, Joanne Hayes from Abbeydorney Co Kerry - over 40 miles away - was admitted to hospital after she gave birth to a baby who had died and was buried on her family's farm.

Subsequently, gardaí pursued a murder charge against her, despite Ms Hayes and the father of her baby being a different blood group to Baby John.

She was charged with the baby’s murder in May of 1984.

Earlier this year, gardai and the Irish state apologised to Ms Hayes after a DNA profile obtained from a blood sample of Baby John in the course of the original investigation confirmed that she was not the mother of the infant found.

Now, it seems as though gardai have launched a renewed effort to track down the family of the murdered baby.

More than 20 officers descended on the island earlier this week to canvass the area.

DNA samples were taken voluntarily, and most of those taken were from women.

Gardaí said that they had not been acting on specific intelligence but that the island was the closest landmass to White Strand Beach in Caherciveen where Baby John was found stabbed to death.

Speaking yesterday, Superintendent Flor Murphy of Killarney Garda Station said: “The investigation into Baby John is continuing. Significant work has been undertaken since January by the local investigation team supported by the Serious Crime Review Team.

"Over 9,000 investigative hours have been expended on the investigation and 225 separate lines of enquiry are being actively progressed. Selective DNA sampling is ongoing and this is a key focus of the investigation.

“The investigation is still appealing for information from the public. We still believe that members of the community in South Kerry have information about the identity of the mother of Baby John. Baby John lived for five days so someone, somewhere knows about his very short life.

“Someone is Baby John’s mother. Someone is Baby John’s father. Someone knew his mother or father. People have carried a lot of pain and hurt over the last 30 years. This is an opportunity for them to help bring closure to this terrible event and ensure that Baby John receives justice.”