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Operation Orchid: Irishwoman's body may have been found after 22 years

Pauline Finlay Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Irishwoman Pauline Finlay went missing off the County Wexford coast in March 1994, seven months before the body of the unidentified woman was found on a beach in Wales

An unidentified body found on a beach in Wales 22 years ago may be that of an Irishwoman who went missing along the Irish coast that year, police believe.

North Wales Police are using DNA tests in a bid to solve 17 separate cold cases of unidentified human remains found in their area from 1968 to 2011.

It is known as Operation Orchid.

Tests have suggested a body found at Cable Bay, Anglesey, in 1994 could be that of Pauline Finlay who went missing on the Wexford coast earlier that year.

'Significant breakthrough'

The Wexford woman disappeared while walking her dogs near the coastal village of Kilmuckridge in March 1994.

Formal identification has not yet taken place but North Wales Police have contacted her family about the results of their tests.

The force has submitted a file to the local coroner and an inquest will be held at a later date.

In a statement, North Wales Police described the recent development as a "significant breakthrough" in the 22-year-old case.

Most of the 17 cold cases under re-examination involve bodies found around the coast.

Grave

The separate cases are not being treated as crimes, but detectives want to identify the remains to give families closure.

At the time the Cable Bay body was discovered, the unidentified woman's death was not thought to be suspicious.

An "open verdict" was recorded and her remains were buried in a cemetery in Wales.

Members of the Finlay family are due to travel to Wales within weeks to visit the grave which may contain their relative's remains, according to a report by Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

A date for the inquest has not yet been set.

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