Police who appealed to the public for information about a teenage girl found wandering the streets of Dublin last month said they had finally managed to establish her identity.
Irish officers were granted rare legal permission to circulate photographs of the girl, who is thought to be 14 or 15 years old.
The teenager was found by police in a dazed and confused state in O’Connell Street, Dublin’s major thoroughfare, on the afternoon of October 11.
One theory about the girl, who is now in state care, is that she may have been the victim of sex trafficking.
Within hours of issuing the appeal, Irish police said they had identified the girl and were pursuing a “definite line of inquiry”.
They said they were liaising with Australian police to “finalise the matter”. Previously, officers said they believed she may have been European.
Launching the appeal, Irish police said they had pursued more than 115 lines of inquiry without managing to establish her name.
According to Superintendent David Taylor: “This investigation has involved over 2,000 hours, engaging with all the relevant authorities and all the relevant specialists in this area. She was found in a distressed state. she is being cared for very well by professionals.”
Police had been in touch with Interpol, the missing persons bureau, the forensic science laboratory, the domestic violence and sexual assault unit and immigration authorities.
They had also contacted homeless shelters, hostels, hotels, guesthouses and ports and airports. Superintendent Taylor has issued media appeals for information, and a dedicated phone line and email address have been set up.
The girl had drawn sketches of her experience in an effort to communicate with officers.
There have been several recent warnings of a highly active sex industry in Ireland, but officials said they do not know for sure whether the teenager had been trafficked.