Gardaí are to conduct a detailed examination of the mobile phones and digital devices of Mark Hennessy and Jastine Valdez to determine if there was any contact between them — but suspect she may have been a completely random victim.
If the attack is confirmed to be random, gardaí may also examine Hennessy, a married father of two young children, in relation to other unsolved attacks or missing person cases.
The development comes as the garda search operation for Ms Valdez yesterday turned to a murder investigation with the discovery of a female body in dense gorse in the Rathmichael area of south Co Dublin.
While the body was in the process of being formally identified last night, gardaí believe the remains are those of the 24-year-old Filipino student.
Hennessy, aged 40, is suspected of abducting Ms Valdez as she walked home in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, at 6.20pm on Saturday and killing her soon afterwards.
A preliminary autopsy was conducted at the scene, completing at around 8pm, which did not identify any obvious marks on the body.Sources suggested this could suggest possible strangulation but the cause of death will not be known until a full autopsy this morning at the city morgue. The body was removed from the Puck’s Castle Lane area before dark.
Indications suggested Ms Valdez may have been dead for 36 to 48 hours, which would tally with reports from an eyewitness that a Nissan jeep was seen in the area at around 7pm on Saturday.
It is not known yet if there was a sexual assault. Some of Ms Valdez’s clothes were pulled up, but sources said this could have been caused by dragging her through the gorse.
Ms Valdez was an only child and her parents, who reported her missing late on Saturday night, were informed of the discovery by their garda family liaison officer.
The grim find came at the end of almost two days of searches and some 20 hours after Hennessy was fatally shot by a detective.
Slightly different reports emerged from garda sources as to the events leading to the shooting, but a number of them suggest Hennessy, armed with a knife, ran at a garda.
Garda sources said detectives are trained to “shoot to stop” by aiming at the upper body as shooting at arms or legs may not incapacitate an attacker. It was also pointed out that local detectives do not have Tasers.
CCTV from the scene, at Cherrywood business park, in south Dublin, is being examined — and the entire event is now under investigation by GSOC, as required by law.
Garda search efforts focused on the Rathmichael region yesterday morning after they were able to download satnav history from the Nissan Qasqhai being driven by Hennessy.
The search team found a purse, with Ms Valdez’s ID card inside, along with an item of clothing at the Puck’s Castle Lane area at around mid-morning.
Approaching 3.30pm, the team was cutting back branches at a section of dense gorse and could see a woman’s body.