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Major operation Gardaí search waste ground for torso of tragic teen brutally murdered last year

Officers were acting on “key intelligence” for the search operation and are hopeful of finding the only part of the teenager’s body that remains missing.

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Gardai at the scene of waste ground next to the Rathmullen estate in Drogheda where they are searching for the remains of a teenage boy.  Picture: Gerry Mooney

Gardai at the scene of waste ground next to the Rathmullen estate in Drogheda where they are searching for the remains of a teenage boy. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Gardai at the scene of waste ground next to the Rathmullen estate in Drogheda where they are searching for the remains of a teenage boy. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Gardaí are to resume an extensive search of waste ground this morning for the missing remains of a 17-year-old boy who was murdered and dismembered last year.

A search involving around 30 officers of a large area behind the Rathmullen estate in Drogheda began yesterday.

The murdered teenager cannot be named for legal reasons, but his killing and dismemberment shocked the nation.

Officers involved in yesterday’s search were acting on “key intelligence” and are hopeful of finding the only part of the boy’s body that remains missing, his torso.

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Gardai at the scene of waste ground next to the Rathmullen estate in Drogheda where they are searching for the remains of a teenage boy.  Picture; Gerry Mooney

Gardai at the scene of waste ground next to the Rathmullen estate in Drogheda where they are searching for the remains of a teenage boy. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Gardai at the scene of waste ground next to the Rathmullen estate in Drogheda where they are searching for the remains of a teenage boy. Picture; Gerry Mooney

There have been no arrests in this phase of the investigation. No properties were searched yesterday.

"Gardai believe the torso may have been dumped in a deep drain in the waste ground," a senior source said.

“These searches are very comprehensive and very thorough – garda forensic experts are in place,” a senior source said.

Gardaí said officers were being helped by the Louth Divisional Search unit, garda dog and water units and the technical bureau from garda headquarters.

The teenager was murdered and butchered at a house in Drogheda during a feud between two gangs in the Co Louth town.

Remains, including limbs, were found in a bag in Moatview Gardens, Coolock, on January 13 last year.

Two days later, the boy’s head and hands were found in the boot of a burned-out car in Trinity Terrace, near Ballybough, in Dublin’s north inner city.

Eight people have already been arrested in the murder investigation and two men have appeared before the courts.

Sources said a number of other people are expected to be arrested in the coming weeks.

Last month, Drogheda feud gangster Paul Crosby was released without charge after being arrested in Mountjoy Prison and questioned about the boy’s murder.

The chief suspect in the case was north Dublin gangster Robbie Lawlor, who was shot dead in Belfast last April.

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Robbie Lawlor

Robbie Lawlor

Robbie Lawlor

Since the teenager’s murder, gardaí have continued with a major clampdown on the feuding gangs and have seized €1.2m worth of drugs and €1.5m in cash in Co Louth in the past year.

In Drogheda alone, 95 suspected drug dealers have been arrested and more than €500,000 worth of drugs was seized under Operation Stratus.

The 39-year-old man who found the teenager’s remains in a bag in Moatview Gardens told the Sunday World of his horror.

He said that shortly after 10pm on January 13 last year, he noticed something outside his home in Moatview Gardens after hearing the sound of sirens from a garda chase in the area.

“It was a long sports bag – I didn’t notice a brand on it. My first thought was that it was after being thrown out of a car and left there because of the police being in the area.”

He continued: “There were three things I thought it might have been.

“I thought, maybe someone had forgotten their gym gear; that it was stolen goods or it was drugs. And there was drugs found out there not so long ago so it wouldn’t have been too far of a leap.

“I picked it up and I went into the house with it. The bag was heavy - that’s what really piqued my interest.

“I thought there’s something important in this. We opened it up — me and another person in the house — after we brought it out to the front room.

“She thought it was meat from an animal but when I looked at it closely I said: ‘That’s not meat … that’s a human leg'. And then I saw the arms and a pair of flip flops.

“The man continued that he went into a panic when he realised what he had brought into his home.

“When I realised what we had in the house I ran back out with it and put it back where it came from.

“By then all the neighbours came out because we were screaming ‘there are body parts in the bag'. And one of the neighbours rang the gardai,” he said.

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