Arrests made in Kerry baby murder case from 1984

Mar 23, 2023 21:31 By radiokerrynews
Arrests made in Kerry baby murder case from 1984
The grave of Baby John in Holy Cross Cemetery, Cahersiveen
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Two people have been arrested in relation to the murder of a baby who was found on a beach near Cahersiveen almost 40 years ago.

The baby boy's body was discovered with multiple injuries - 28 stab wounds -  on White Strand near Cahersiveen on April 14th, 1984.

This evening gardaí arrested a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s.


They were arrested in the Munster region on suspicion of the offence of murder and are currently detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

It's understood the man is being held in Listowel garda station and the woman is being questioned in Castleisland.

The new-born baby who had multiple injuries was found lifeless in a bag on White Strand.


He was called Baby John and was buried in Cahersiveen.

Superintendent Flor Murphy who is leading the investigation said: "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. I am again appealing to the public for any information in relation to the death of Baby John. Anyone who comes forward will be treated with sensitivity and compassion."

Gardaí say an extensive investigation into the case has been ongoing since 2018. Hundreds of people have been interviewed and gardaí say more than 260 lines of enquiry have been initiated.


Anyone with information is asked to contact Killarney Garda Station (064) 6671160 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.


In 1984, five members of the Hayes family from Abbeydorney - which is some 80 kilometres from Cahersiveen - were wrongfully arrested on suspicion of the murder and concealment of Baby John.


On April 13th 1984, Joanne Hayes had given birth on the family farm;  the baby boy died shortly after birth and was buried on the farm in secret.

Gardaí became convinced that Joanne Hayes had also given birth to Baby John.

They subscribed to the theory of "heteropaternal superfecundation", that she had become pregnant with twins, each of whom had a different father.


DNA testing later proved that Joanne Hayes was not the mother of the infant found murdered near Cahersiveen.

The Hayes family signed statements confessing to the crime, following hours of interrogation at Tralee Garda Station.

The Hayeses later withdrew all five statements.

The Kerry Babies Tribunal, which took place in 1985,  was set up to investigate the behaviour of gardaí.

In December 2020, the findings of the tribunal report were overturned leading to a State apology and compensation to the Hayes family.

The Hayes family also received an apology from the Garda Commissioner.

In September 2021, the remains of Baby John were exhumed in order to extract a DNA sample.


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