A search team examining French forest land for the body of “Disappeared” republican murder victim Seamus Ruddy has found human remains.
The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) announced that the discovery was at Pont-de-l’Arche near Rouen in northern France.
Experts began a fresh search of the area on Tuesday. Mr Ruddy, from Newry, Co Down, was abducted from Paris, killed and buried by the republican paramilitary group the INLA in 1985.
The commission said the process of recovering the remains would take some time. A post-mortem examination and formal identification will then be undertaken in conjunction with the French authorities.
The family of Mr Ruddy, who was 32, now face a tense wait for news they have been waiting more three decades to hear. His sister Anne Morgan visited the search site in France on Friday, just hours before the discovery.
The ICLVR was set up during the peace process by the UK and Irish governments to recover the bodies of those murdered and secretly buried, mainly by the IRA, in the 1970s and 1980s. There had been three previous searches in the forest area for Mr Ruddy, the most recent by the ICLVR in 2008.
The commission’s experts, who require those with knowledge of the crimes to come forward and provide information without fear of prosecution, were confident the guidance they were acting on this time was accurate.
If the remains are those of Mr Ruddy, that will leave three Disappeared victims still to be recovered. The commission was originally tasked to find 16 murder victims. The remains of Columba McVeigh, Joe Lynskey and Robert Nairac have yet to be found.
Sinn Fein’s Mickey Brady, a childhood friend of Mr Ruddy, said his thoughts were with his family.
“While it is too early to say, I can only hope that they are those of Seamus Ruddy,” he said of the remains found.