DNA testing has ruled out any connection between Joanne Hayes and “Baby John” found dead and buried on a Kerry beach in 1984.
Gardaí (Irish police) have apologized to Hayes and say her name is now cleared beyond all doubt; Superintendent Flor Murphy said at a press conference it was matter of deep regret that it had taken so long for law enforcement to establish that Hayes was not Baby John’s mother.
“We have been in close contact with Ms Hayes through a Family Liaison Officer since the DNA sample confirmed this,” Supt Murphy told the press conference.
“She has been informed of the results and the investigation. It is a matter of significant regret for An Garda Síochána that it has taken such a long time for it to be confirmed that Ms Hayes is not the mother of Baby John.
“On behalf of An Garda Síochána, I would like to sincerely apologise to Ms Hayes for that, as well as the awful stress and pain she has been put through as a result of the original investigation into this matter, which fell well short of the required standards.
It’s an apology that Hayes and her legal team have long been asking for; a vindication over 30 years in the making.
"Ireland was a different place in 1984. We would hope hat in the Ireland of 2018 that people will be more prepared to come forward" #kerrybabies— Cianan Brennan (@ciananbrennan) January 16, 2018
Gardaí have also appealed for anyone with information about the death of Baby John to come forward to.
Baby John was found with multiple stab wounds on White Strand in Cahersiveen on 14 April 1984; another baby was found buried in Abbeydorney outside Tralee which led to the establishment of a public inquiry into the “Kerry Babies” as they soon came to be known.
Hayes said she was the mother of the baby in Abbeydorney and that it had died soon after it was born. However gardaí concluded she was also the mother of the baby found in Cahersiveen and charged her with his murder.
DNA testing at the time found the Cahersiveen baby belonged to a completely different blood group to Hayes and Jeremiah Locke - the married man she had been having an affair with. In papers prepared for the court they put forward the theory that Hayes had had sex with two different men within a 48 hour period and had conceived a child on each occasion. Such a feat is called superfecundation and is only fractionally more common than virgin birth.
Hayes signed the confession presented to her by gardaí but later told RTÉ she only did so “because they told me they were going to make Mother charged with murder as well and put my little girl in an orphanage, and going to sell the farm as well”.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Éamonn Barne eventually quashed the case in the face of a wave of revulsion at how the state were treating the 25-year-old.
Hayes still lives in Co Kerry and refuses media requests for interview.