Gardaí have arrested a 62-year-old man after a woman was found dead in a burning car in Cork on Thursday. 

The suspect was detained in Fermoy Garda Station on Friday over the "unlawful killing" of 72-year-old Mary O'Keefe in a forest near Doneraile in North County Cork on Thursday afternoon. 

Members of the Armed Support Unit pulled the man from the Awbeg River on Thursday afternoon shortly after Mary O'Keefe's body was discovered. The man was found around 3km from the burnt-out car. 

The man was admitted to Cork University Hospital (CUH) on Thursday with hypothermia and minor burns believed to have been sustained in the fire that killed O'Keefe. Detectives arrested the 62-year-old as soon as he was discharged from CUH at 3:50 p.m. on Friday. 

Assistant State Pathologist Dr. Margaret Bolster examined Mary O'Keefe's body in the front seat of the burnt-out car for two hours on Friday morning before transferring her body to CUH to carry out a post-mortem. The car is registered to the 62-year-old suspect.

The Irish Times reports that Dr. Bolster took several samples to try and establish how quickly O'Keefe died, and gardaí hope that these tests will indicate whether the victim was alive or dead before the car went on fire. 

However, the analysis will take several weeks to complete and gardaí were tight-lipped about the results of the post-mortem on Friday night. 

Garda technical experts will also examine O'Keefe's car, which was parked roughly 1km away from the car she was found dead in, while detectives are also investigating phone records and text messages between the victim and the suspect in an attempt to find out what happened. 

They have established that the suspect made several calls to his family on Thursday and that one of his relatives traveled to Dromdeer Wood, where Mary O'Keefe's body was found. 

The relative reportedly told emergency services that there was a woman in the burning car and that the suspect had fled the scene through fields leading to the Awbeg River. 

The man has family in Limerick and is believed to be known to the victim. 

Mary O'Keefe, meanwhile, was a native of Lombardstown in North County Cork. O'Keefe, who was widowed many years ago, worked as a cook at Mallow Shelter Care at Summerhill and was described as warm and kind-hearted. 

She is survived by her three adult sons. 

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