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Two people arrested on suspicion of murder over baby’s death in Kerry in 1984

A man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s were arrested in the Munster region, Gardai said.

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Two people have been arrested on suspicion of murder as part of the investigation into the death of a baby boy in Ireland almost 40 years ago.

The body of the five-day-old infant, known as Baby John, was found with multiple stab wounds in a bag on a beach in Co Kerry in April 1984.

A man aged in his 60s and a woman aged in her 50s have been arrested in the Munster region and are being detained in Garda stations in the south of the country.

“This evening, Thursday March 23 2023, Gardai arrested two people, a male in his 60s and a female in her 50s, in relation to the discovery of the body of a male infant at White Strand, Caherciveen, County Kerry, on April 14 1984,” a statement said.

“They were arrested in the Munster region on suspicion of the offence of murder and are currently detained at Garda stations in the south of the country under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.”

The high-profile discovery became known as the “Kerry Babies” case, and would lead to a state apology over the treatment of a local woman.

Joanne Hayes was arrested and charged after Baby John’s body was found in 1984, but the charge was later dropped and a tribunal of inquiry was set up to probe the handling of her case by Gardai.

Advances in DNA profiling then confirmed that Ms Hayes, as she always maintained, was not Baby John’s mother.

In 2018, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, justice minister Charlie Flanagan and An Garda Siochana apologised to Ms Hayes.

In January 2018, An Garda Siochana announced a review into the death of Baby John, and since then its Kerry Division has carried out an “extensive” investigation, supported by the Garda Serious Crime Review Team.

Hundreds of people have been interviewed and more than 560 lines of inquiry have been initiated.

In September 2018, Baby John’s remains were exhumed and taken to the morgue at University Hospital Kerry in Tralee for examination, and were reinterred later that afternoon.

Baby John is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Caherciveen.

“The arrests are a significant development in this investigation in an effort to establish the truth surrounding the death of Baby John in 1984 and deliver justice for Baby John,” said lead investigator Superintendent Flor Murphy.

“I am again appealing to the public for any information in relation to the death of Baby John in 1984.

“Anyone who comes forward will be treated with sensitivity and compassion.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Killarney Garda Station on 064 667 1160, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

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