Mulready-Woods, who was last seen by his family Sunday at 6 p.m., was allegedly tortured, murdered, and dismembered by a drug gang from the town of Drogheda outside Dublin as an act of vengeance for a murder committed by the gang he was allegedly affiliated with, according to the Gardaí or Irish Police.
A gym bag with some of his limbs was found on Monday evening along a foot path inside a housing complex where some of the victim’s friends and associates lived in north Dublin. Another bag containing fingers and other body parts police say likely belonged to the 17-year-old was found in another section of suburban Dublin on Tuesday. Early Wednesday morning, the Gardaí discovered what they have confirmed as Mulready-Wood’s decapitated head inside a burning Volvo in the town of Drumcondra north of Dublin.
“This is a brutal and savage attack on a child and is completely unacceptable in any normal democratic society,” the Gardaí said in a statement confirming the identity of Mulready-Wood. “The level of violence is shocking … It is important to remember that Keane was a child, a young boy, trying to find his way in life, he has now lost his life and his family have lost their loved son and brother.”
Police confirm they have conducted searches on at least six properties on both sides of the gang war and reportedly found blood and some human tissue in at least one of the properties, according to local press reports out of Ireland.
None of the clothing that Mulready-Woods was wearing when he was last seen—including a navy Hugo Boss tracksuit, black Hugo Boss sneakers with brown sole and black laces, red-orange Canada Goose jacket, and Gucci baseball cap—have yet been found, according to police.
Now police say gang members of the local drug gang likely responsible for the teen’s heinous murder are sending photos of what appears to be his body parts and burning skull to the dead teen’s associates as a threat not to retaliate. The police have warned that anyone found distributing these images could be arrested.
“These images are unverified at this time,” the Gardaí said in a statement. “They are distressing to Keane’s family and if verified are disrespectful images of the deceased and provide false support to the perpetrators of this brutal crime. Gardaí are asking people not to share this material.”
Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy told reporters after Wednesday’s grim discovery that the Irish drug gangs, which deal mostly in cocaine and heroin, are attracting increasingly younger members. “You’re talking about criminals, you’re talking about drugs—a lot of them are taking their own product,” he said. “In terms of suspicion and paranoia, this is part and parcel of this type of business. So many things go wrong and suspicions are raised.”
He said the Mulready-Wood’s murder was likely an act of revenge for a killing spree between rival gangs in Dublin suburbs of Drogheda, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Longford, and Sligo that started in 2016 with the murder of gang member David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, Dublin. Since then, three people tied to different gangs have been tortured and murdered, but none in such a heinous way as the 17-year-old.
“People become fearful for their own safety and the way they deal with that is they end up killing the person they feel is out to get them,” Leahy said. “There’s a trend in this. Look at the age of all the people who have died associated with this.”
The illicit drug trade in Ireland has evolved into a multi-million dollar business in recent years and police warn that new cartels, mostly made up of young people, have tried to infringe on the lucrative trade that was previously dominated by the infamous Kinahan cartel. “There is no long lifespan in the drugs industry for sure. If you’re going to get into it you need to know that,” Leahy warned. “At the end of the day there is no doubt you will come to a bad end.”