A close friend of the O'Brien family, Father David O'Kane from Derry today said they were "utterly devastated".
"Ciara was a lovely little girl. I was the curate in Burt for four years and the O'Brien's were my next door neighbours all that time. I would know Ciara's parents well and they are lovely, lovely people.
"It is hard to see them so devastated, so numb at the whole thing. Not only have they lost a daughter but two beautiful grandchildren as well.
"When I saw them last night they were just back from the Garda station in Letterkenny, but they don't really know what had happened. It's a case that they will have to wait and see until the police learn more.
"They kept in regular contact with Ciara and as far as I know everything was fine with her.
"I remember Ciara as a young girl running around with her two brothers and her sister. They are all around the same age. They were inseparable from each other and their parents. They were very close. She was a very loving, devoted, gentle wee girl."