Body of Clarissa McCarthy exhumed before being returned to U.S.

The child’s mother, Rebecca Saunders, has fought hard to have her daughter’s remains removed from the same grave as her father
Body of Clarissa McCarthy exhumed before being returned to U.S.

Rebecca Saunders whose husband Martin drowned their little girl, Clarissa and then himself.

THE body of Clarissa McCarthy, who was drowned in West Cork by her father, who then killed himself, has been exhumed from their joint grave.

The child’s mother, Rebecca Saunders, has fought hard to have her daughter’s remains removed from the same grave as her father.

Scaffolding and tarpaulin were erected around the grave in Schull graveyard yesterday at about 4am and the single coffin containing both bodies was then removed from the grave and taken by hearse to an embalming studio in Clonakilty, where the two bodies are to be separated.

Clarissa’s remains will be cremated in the coming days so that her mother can finally bring her daughter back to her native USA, where she now lives. Being separated from her daughter’s remains has been an ongoing source of grief and pain for Ms Saunders.

She began a campaign to have her daughter’s body exhumed after speaking out about the tragedy for the first time in the Irish Examiner.

Over a year later, she achieved what she had been told would be impossible: To have her daughter’s remains removed from the arms of the man who killed her and to bring her back home with her to the US.

After the bodies are separated, Mr McCarthy’s remains are to be re-interred in the grave he had shared with his daughter.

A plaque in memory of Clarissa is to be placed on Audley Cove, the beach below her house where she loved to play, in the coming weeks.

Clarissa was three years old when her father, 50, drowned the child on March 5, 2013, before taking his own life at Audley Cove near their home outside Ballydehob.

Shocked and traumatised by the horror of her daughter’s death, Ms Saunders, then 26, allowed Clarissa to be buried in her father’s arms just days after the killing.

However, she regretted that decision ever since and has finally won her battle to exhume the bodies and will now be able to bring Clarissa back home with her to the US.

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