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24th Mar 2023

Kerry Babies: Community in shock after man and woman arrested

Baby John was found with 28 stab wounds.

Warning: Some readers may find this article distressing.

Locals are said to be in shock after a man and woman were arrested in connection with the Kerry Babies case.

Gardaí are continuing their questioning of the two people arrested in connection with the body of a five-day-old baby found on a beach in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, in April 1984.

A man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s were arrested last night.

In 1984, the body of the baby, later named John, was found with 28 stab wounds.

It will be the 39th anniversary of the discovery of baby John’s body at White Strand in three weeks.

Last night’s arrests are a significant development in the cold case review of the investigation, according to the lead investigator, Superintendent Flor Murphy.

Murphy said Gardaí are focused on the truth and finding out exactly what happened to baby John.

Gardaí will not say where the two people were arrested.

It’s understood the investigating team still holds on to that belief today.

Gardaí have 24 hours to question the two people who were arrested.

What we know about the Kerry Babies case

On April 14th, 1984, the body of a newborn baby boy, later named John, was found on White Strand in Cahersiveen. The infant had been stabbed several times.

RTÉ reports that sometime later, the body of another baby was discovered on a farm in Abbeydorney, North Kerry.

Local woman Joanne Hayes, known to be pregnant at the time, was charged with the murder of baby John in May 1984, and four of her family members were charged with concealment of birth.

She confessed to the killing of the baby, later retracting her confession saying that her newborn had died shortly after birth.

Hayes said that she had had her baby wrapped in plastic and buried on the farm in secret. The baby from the farm matched Hayes’s blood type, but baby John from the beach did not.

The Kerry Babies Tribunal was later critical of the Gardaí’s investigation. It also suggested that Hayes had participated in her baby’s death, which she denied.

All charges against Hayes and her family were eventually dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The parents and killer of baby John have never been found.