Police in the Irish region of Tullamore near Dublin are desperately searching for any leads tied to a green and yellow bicycle as they search for the killer of a 23-year-old school teacher after the only suspect in her murder was released. Tullamore Councillor Tony McCormack said the fear was palpable after the release of the suspect. “People have woken up to that kind of news, the feelings were already heightened here in Tullamore and what's happened now has notched it up another rung.” he told RTE radio. “Everybody in Tullamore now, no matter who they are, male or female will be second guessing if they’re going running or walking to exercising to make sure that they choose a route that’s safe and that they go with somebody else.”
“It’s shocking and fear is the one that I would say is the feeling that is taking over the whole area as a result of what’s happened in the last 24 hours.”
Ashling Murphy’s battered body was found along a canal bank at 4 p.m.—about an hour after she finished teaching for the day—on Wednesday by two female joggers. Police initially picked up a Romanian man in his 40s, known in the area and who the witnesses say fled the scene. The man, who has not been named, said through his lawyer that his life had been “ruined.” Donal Farrelly, the man’s lawyer, told the Irish Times, “This man has been vilified on social media and clearly identified on social media.” He added that his client had fallen on hard times and said, “Any form of interrogation or questioning is inherently traumatic.”
Murphy, who had been out jogging along a popular trail, was reportedly strangled. There are as yet no indications if she was also sexually assaulted.
In a statement released late Thursday night, local police or Garda, say they cleared the witness and are now looking for a new suspect. “The male who was arrested and detained by An Garda Siochana investigating this fatal assault has now been released from this detention,” a statement from the Garda said. “This male has been eliminated from Garda enquiries and is no longer a suspect.”
Authorities are now focused on who might own a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow and green front forks possibly left at the scene.
Murphy, who was a well known musician in the local traditional music scene, had recently graduated and started a teaching position as a primary teacher. Vigils including tributes from her young pupils who drew portraits of their much loved teacher are scheduled for Friday to honor her memory.
“We’re highly devastated,” her employer Durrow National School principal James Hogan said. “She was fantastic, a tremendous teacher and she had a shining light about her. First class idolized her, the kids are just heartbroken. There’s been a lot of tears here today.”