This Leeson St home on sale for €2 million is family-friendly but perfect for city living
This Leeson St home on sale for €2 million is family-friendly but perfect for city...

Megan Burns

You will not believe how they made THAT Zendaya Balmain dress
You will not believe how they made THAT Zendaya Balmain dress

Lauren Heskin

If you only see one film in the cinema this year, make it this powerful Irish feature
If you only see one film in the cinema this year, make it this powerful...

Meg Walker

Postpartum Psychosis: ‘It hit me completely out of the blue’
Postpartum Psychosis: ‘It hit me completely out of the blue’

Amanda Cassidy

4 Irish female bosses on getting organised, confidence and the importance of creativity
4 Irish female bosses on getting organised, confidence and the importance of creativity

Shayna Sappington

Two beauty industry stalwarts have teamed up to save cruelty-free cosmetics in Europe
Two beauty industry stalwarts have teamed up to save cruelty-free cosmetics in Europe

Sarah Finnan

Why negotiating a ‘jobbymoon’ before you start your new job is actually a great idea
Why negotiating a ‘jobbymoon’ before you start your new job is actually a great idea

Erin Lindsay

Skin Proud is Glossier’s new 100% vegan and cruelty-free competitor
Skin Proud is Glossier’s new 100% vegan and cruelty-free competitor

Sarah Finnan

The dos and don’ts of supporting someone who might be suicidal
The dos and don’ts of supporting someone who might be suicidal

Erin Lindsay

‘You’re suddenly painfully aware of the fragility of all that is being asked of you as a mother’
‘You’re suddenly painfully aware of the fragility of all that is being asked of you...

Amanda Cassidy

Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

‘I remember wanting to crawl into that coffin with her’: Mother appeals to bring toddler’s body home

In a situation beyond devastating, a woman whose Irish husband killed their three-year-old daughter in Cork has appealed to be allowed to exhume her child's body and take her back to the US.


by Jennifer McShane
20th Apr 2021

Photo via Rebecca Saunders

blank

 

Rebecca Saunders, from Houston, Texas, is campaigning to have her daughter Clarissa Jean McCarthy’s body exhumed and re-interred in the United States.

Clarissa was just three years old when her father killed her and himself in Co Cork in 2013. In a “fog of grief,” Saunders agreed to have McCarthy buried alongside her father in Ireland.

“I agreed to that. It was brought up by somebody else, I did not think of it myself,” she said.

“I did not want to think of how I would bury my own daughter, but I thought to myself at the time that I could not handle the thought of having my daughter cremated that time.”

“I felt like when the idea came up to bury them together, if she had a choice, if she could make a choice in this decision whether she was going to be by herself or whether she wanted to be with somebody, I just felt like she would not want to be alone. I did not realise just how sinister Martin’s plan was and how much in advance he planned out what he carried out that night. And so I thought to myself; if she had a choice, she would want to be buried with her father … even though he did what he did, as she would still love him.”

#ClarissasCause has been launched in hopes of exhuming the remains of her daughter and taking her home to her.

Rebecca appeared on RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live programme on Monday evening via a video link and shared previously undisclosed details of a chilling letter her husband Martian McCarthy wrote in a letter to her before he drowned their daughter Clarissa at Audley Cove in West Cork on March 5, 2013.

The letter was written as Rebecca was preparing to divorce her husband before he and their daughter vanished from their home, she had travelled to Bantry that day to seek legal aid in relation to separation proceedings.

If you can take Clarissa to America I can take Clarissa to heaven,” he wrote.  “You can now get on with the rest of your life as mine and Clarissa’s is about to end. By the time you will get to read this letter I and Clarissa will be in heaven. You did not realise how much I loved you, I could not see my daughter being raised up by a stepfather.”

“You will never forget this day.”

A fog of “grief and shock”

Rebecca reiterated her desire to have her daughter’s body exhumed after she agreed to have them buried together while still in “a fog of grief and shock.”

“I remember when Clarissa got back from her post mortem and her coffin was open,” she said, speaking on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live.

“I just remember always wanting to be by her side and wanting to crawl into that coffin with her. I could not believe what was in front of my eyes and what had just happened and how fast everything was going.”

“I just felt like I had made a grievous mistake. “I feel like burying them together was a huge mistake. I feel like I essentially abandoned her… I would sleep better, I would be able to funtion better if I would be able to take her home with me. I know that exhuming her won’t bring her back, but there will be a small amount of closure that I no longer have to think that she is in the arms of that monster.”

Rebecca has since said, “I feel so lifted up and held by everyone who has taken the time to reach out to me. Your words, prayers, wishes and aid have instilled in me so much hope that I didn’t have mere months ago. Hope that Clarissa’s final resting place does not have to be half a world away from me. Thank you to everyone who have opened up their heart to myself and Clarissa. Thank you for hearing my story, I know that it is not easy to listen to.”

“My heart is filled with gratitude, love and hope at the sheer scale of support shared with me.”

You can donate to #ClarissasCause here

 

Also Read

William and Harry
BREAKING STORIES
Prince William reportedly ‘threw Harry out’ of charity foundation over Meghan Markle bullying claims

New rumours have emerged of a “fierce and bitter” argument between Prince William and Prince Harry – one which ultimately...

By Sarah Finnan

Nóra Quoirin
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
Inquest ruling changed to open verdict in Nóra Quoirin’s death

A Malaysian judge has overturned an inquest verdict of misadventure in the death of 15-year-old Nóra Quoirin, changing it to...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
BUSINESS
Do not underestimate how productive WFB (working from bed) can be

Isn’t this what we’ve always wanted?Lockdown is awful, on that we can all agree. But while living through a pandemic...

By Amanda Cassidy

Millie Macintosh c-section
BREAKING STORIES
Millie Mackintosh gets candid about her c-section and recovery experience

Currently pregnant with her second child, former ‘Made in Chelsea’ star Millie Mackintosh got real with followers about her experience...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
BUSINESS
How to deal with failure: 4 tips on how to recover from a setback

Failure is inevitable in life, but while many of us know this deep down, we don’t tend to deal with...

By Colette Sexton

turn down a promotion
premium BUSINESS
Repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with not wanting a promotion

Colette Sexton on why it is fine if you don’t want to climb the career ladder.While much of life revolves...

By Colette Sexton

blank
BUSINESS
‘We have a real opportunity for change’: Marie O’Donoghue on the future of work and how to get ready

Covid has fundamentally changed how we work and no one is better positioned to explain how we should adapt than...

By IMAGE