The family still seeking answers over failure to identify the son’s remains
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A YOUNG Limerick man who was declared missing 25 years ago, despite being found in 1996 and buried in 2014 as his family continued to search for him, was remembered at a Mass in his native city on Tuesday.
23-year-old Denis Walsh left his home in Caherdavin on March 9, 1996. His unidentified partial remains were washed up on the shoreline at Inis Mór in Galway Bay 29 days later.
Gardaí in Galway didn’t know that their colleagues in Limerick had begun a missing person investigation on March 9, unaware that a body had been found on Inis Mór on April 7.
Mr. Walsh’s family was not notified of the discovery of the unidentified human remains, and it’s unclear if Gardaí in Galway made efforts to check missing person cases, or indeed if efforts were made to contact any families of missing persons.
The Walsh family was told last month that, following advances in DNA profiling, the remains found on Inis Mór had been identified as Denis Walsh Jnr.
Mr. Walsh’s remains were held in storage at Galway University Hospital from April 1996 until they were laid to rest in a communal grave at Bohermore Cemetery outside Galway City in 2014.
His father, Denis Walsh Snr said that the family continues to seek answers to what happened.
“For 25 years we were going around looking for Denis and the State had his body for all that time. It beggars belief that they weren’t able to join up the dots,” he added.
A Garda spokesman told the Limerick Post on Monday that they would be “making no further comment” on whether they would be conducting a review of investigations into the disappearance of Denis Walsh Jnr and the subsequent recovery of his body.
“Gardaí are preparing a file for the Coroner, and will continue to liaise with the family of Denis Walsh through this process,” he added.
Denis Walsh Snr said there were two positive sightings of his son in Limerick on March 13, 1996, so the longest he could have been in the water was 25 days because he was found on April 7.
The family was told it wasn’t possible to identify Denis through dental records, fingerprints, or clothing.
However, a report in the Tuam Herald on April 13, 1996, referred to the base body as having “neatly cut brown hair” and Gardaí has now been asked why identification was not possible through DNA from his hair.