Details of the investigation of Cork farmer Martin McCarthy’s (50) murder of his three-year-old daughter, Clarissa, and suicide have emerged. Police reveal her father made plans to kill his daughter and composed an “exceptionally long” letter for her American mother.
The family and locals of Ballydehob, in West Cork, are reeling following the desperate actions of a well-liked local farmer. McCarthy drowned his young daughter and then killed himself due to fears that his wife, Rebecca Bailey-Cejnar, originally from Los Angeles, California, would take the child away from him.
The Evening Herald newspaper reported that the note, discovered by Rebecca at their home at Foilnamuc, Ballydehob, was lengthy and included arguments from McCarthy attempting to justify his actions. A source told the newspaper the highly emotional note would have taken at least an hour to compose.
They said, “Unusually, it was also exceptionally long and it's likely it took at least an hour to compose… He was worried that if the marriage ended he would see less of Clarissa. He said that he couldn't bear that and it was all too much.”
Rebecca’s family is in shock at the horrific tragedy. Harry Cejnar, her father, pointed out that McCarthy’s fears of Rebecca taking Clarissa back to California were irrational due to Irish law.
He told the Herald, “Rebecca couldn't have brought Clarissa back to the United States because Clarissa didn't have a passport.
"The laws in Ireland would mean Martin would have to say that was OK…I don't understand it at all – I still can't believe it. Rebecca and Martin were good parents. I hadn't heard of any problems between them at all.
"I just don't understand how this could have happened. Something must have gone wrong. Clarissa was a great kid."
Rebecca (26) had met McCarthy while she was on vacation in Ireland. She was working as an au pair for the local vet. Their friends said it was love at first sight. They married seven years ago.
However, according to local reports their marriage was all but over and Rebecca had spoken about bringing Clarissa back to California.
Gardai (police) believe McCarthy had made plans in advance so he and his three-year-old daughter would have time alone on Tuesday night while his wife visited a friend.
Rebecca raised the alarm at 11pm on Tuesday night when she visited McCarthy’s house, concerned about the whereabouts of her husband and Clarissa. When she read the note she alerted the authorities, who contacted the Irish Coastguard and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
The bodies of Clarissa and McCarthy were found in shallow waters at Audley’s Cove, near their home. Rebecca witnessed the rescues and attempted resuscitation. Experts report they had died between 8pm and midnight.
Irish police are describing the deaths as “a tragic incident” and say the investigations surrounding the deaths would hinge on the post mortem reports and his note.
Rebecca is being comforted by her west Cork friends. Her mother, Linda, and her aunt are flying from LA to be at her side.