The case of the girl found wandering Dublin streets a month ago has been solved.
At least the part about who she is – Australian Samantha Azzopardi – has been solved.
It is also now clear that the 25-year-old girl has some degree of mental health issues and will remain in HSE care in Dublin until that is properly established.
According to Sunday World, her family in Australia has been notified and are planning on travelling to Ireland to be reunited with her.
The real mystery now is how it took so long to establish her identity.
Ms Azzopardi arrived in Dublin on October 10 and was found “in a very distressed state” by Gardai outside the GPO.
The task of identifying her was made difficult by the fact she would only communicate by drawing pictures.
Four weeks later, after fruitless investigations, Gardai secured a High Court order to release a photo of her to the media.
They had to take it without her knowledge, as she refused to pose.
You might infer from that that Ms Azzopardi clearly did not want to be identified.
Almost immediately, she was, by a friend from Australia who lives in Ireland. That came following 2000 man-hours of fruitless police work.
Here are some of the unusual details regarding attempts to identify her:
– She is alleged to have up to 40 aliases
– She allegedly has a history of mental illness
– Doctors underestimated her age by 10 years, thinking she may have been a 14-year-old sex trafficking victim
– She is “known to Australian Police”. In fact, according to the Irish Independent, Ms Azzopardi has a conviction.
– The investigation team contacted Interpol, the missing persons bureau, the forensic science laboratory, the domestic violence and sexual assault unit, and national immigration authorities. There’s been no mention of an approach to Australian police, and if they did, clearly no alarm bells were rung.
– Sunday World reports that Gardai claim her fingerprints were not on any police database.
For Ms Azzopardi, hopes are it’s a case of all’s well that ends well. Once assessed as well enough to travel, she’ll return to Australia with her family for ongoing treatment.
For authorities in Ireland and Australia, questions remain about how she appears to have slipped through the database net.
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