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A 12-year-old girl was murdered yesterday and her semi-naked body was dumped beside a canal.

Michaela Davis, from Porterstown, West Dublin, disappeared from her home at midnight on Friday.

Last night, a 19-year-old man handed himself into Blanchardstown Garda station in connection with the killing. He was arrested and can be held for 24 hours.

He arrived at the station alongside his father shortly before 9pm.

Michaela told her parents Brendan and Deirdre that she was "stepping out for a few minutes" before she vanished.

When Michaela failed to return to her house, her distraught parents contacted Blanchardstown Garda station and officers began a major search.

The Garda helicopter was launched at 2.20am yesterday in a bid to find the missing girl. It is feared that Michaela had been sexually assaulted before she was killed.

A man walking along the Royal Canal in Porterstown discovered Michaela's body at 4pm yesterday.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy arrived at the scene yesterday afternoon and performed a preliminary investigation of the scene.

Sources said the man, who is being held at Blanchardstown Garda station, was known to Michaela.

Michaela's body was removed by ambulance at 8.45pm yesterday.

A full postmortem is expected to take place today at the city morgue.

A team of crime scene investigators from the Garda Technical Bureau conducted a fingertip search of the scene looking for vital clues which could determine what happened to the youngster. Officers investigating the killing are particularly interested in talking to whoever Michaela had planned to meet when she was killed.

One source said: "We need to wait for the postmortem to determine exactly how she died but there is enough from the preliminary work to show she had died unlawfully."

The area where Michaela and her family lived is a quiet estate with no great anti-social problems. Although residents have been concerned about the abandoned St Mochtas School which has fallen into disrepair.

The area, which has been dubbed locally as "The Haunto" is a popular meeting place for local youths.

Michaela had only started Luttrelstown Community College last week having finished with St Mochtas National School in June.

Her friend Stacey Brennan 15, said: "The last time I heard from Michaela was at 8.40 on Friday. She just told me in a text message that she was coming back from town and she was in good form.

"She put a wee smiley face on the message. She was only a baby. She was very popular. She was a few years younger than me.

"She was into music and boys. She was really, really pretty and golden blonde hair. She was really into fashion.

"She was supposed to start secondary school next week. I can't believe it. She was very small for her age and I used to look out for her." Another teenager told the Irish Sunday Mirror: "Everyone hangs out in the Haunto. It's what we call the old abandoned school. I had seen Michaela there before.

I'm not sure if she was there Friday night, but everyone hangs out there. The Haunto is where we would go and have a laugh."

Shocked teenagers stood at the edge of the Garda cordon yesterday in an attempt to come to terms to what happened to their friend.

Fianna Fail councillor David McGuinness said: "There is deep shock and sadness in the area that something as terrible as this could happen.

"All our thoughts and prayers are with the young girl's family and friends. It is worrying in that it is a very settled area and a lot of the residents have been there for a long time and would be elderly."

Fine Gael councillor Kieran Dennison last bight said: "It is absolutely devastating. Everyone in the area is just shocked. My heart goes out to them."

Detectives working on the case want to speak with anyone who had seen Michaela in the days leading up to her death. In particular they want to know who she was planning to meet up with when she left her home at midnight on Friday.

One source said: "That person could hold the key to exactly what happened."


Horrific...Gardai examine scene on the Royal Canal where the girl's body was yesterday Hunt... Officers work through the night So sad... Tragic Michaela was loved by her pals Gardai remove body from the scene near the Royal Canal Probe... Garda forensics team examines the scene Sealed-off...Garda forensics team examines the scene at the Royal Canal near Clonsilla, West Dublin, where the body of 12-year-old Michaela Davis was found dumped
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2010
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