‘We can’t get over it, there’s so much pain’, said the heartbroken uncle of a young singer who sent a text for help to her dad, hours after she never showed up to her new apartment.

The family of Claire McKenna have offered a $35,000 reward for information into her death in suspicious circumstances on October 12 as investigations continue in New York.

The beautiful 26-year-old Irish American’s body was discovered hidden in a bush at 9:27 am on October 12 on 94th Avenue and 214th Street in Queens.

Amid their heartbreak, Claire’s family want to clarify mistakes in media reports around her death.

“Contrary to reports, she was found face up in the bush and fully clothed and track marks referred to, was actually a scar from psoriasis. She never did drugs,” her uncle Nigel McKenna told LMFM’s Late Lunch show.

Nigel and Claire’s father Derek hail from Kilkerley in Co Louth and have lived in New York since they emigrated in late 1980s. Derek is an All-Ireland boxing champion and a former Louth GAA Minors and New York City GAA all-stars player.

“A few nights ago I was sitting with my brother and Claire’s identical twin sister Sarah in their living room and suddenly she shouted out ‘why are they saying these things in the newspapers about my sister. No-one knew my sister better than me’,” Nigel explained.

“That’s why I felt I had to publicly correct the mistakes in the media.

“The day after Claire’s body was found, my brother and I visited the crime scene. I noticed from Google maps the night before that the houses beside the bush had CCTV so my brother visited the homes and I stayed outside and searched under cars and in trash cans and through yards hoping to find her phone and handbag which were not discovered with her body.

“While outside, an ambulance pulled up and when they discovered I was Claire’s uncle, they told me a teenager had found her body on his way to school and when the EMTs arrived and found no pulse, they called police and it became a crime scene. They said it was like finding a princess.”

“One of the residents had CCTV footage showing a man all covered up, including his hands and face pulling a dolly (trolley) down the street with Claire’s body on it and stopping at the bush at 4:30 am on October 12.”

“At 3:11 am, she had sent my brother a text for help, adding her phone was about to die. We still don’t understand why she didn’t call him or take a taxi. Was someone holding her against her will or was she afraid that person would hear her calling?”

“At 6:00 am, Derek woke up to find that text and you can imagine what was going through his head. He immediately went to where Claire’s location was last shown on the phone, went to the nearest police precinct and reported her missing.”

“The next day he returned to the police station for an update and was shown some pictures of hair and clothing, which he knew were Claire’s. He was then told that Claire’s body was found at 9:27 am which is when the EMTs declared her dead. There is so much crime in New York city and the police are overwhelmed by the amount of homicide. This is another day in the office for them so we had to push the detectives.”

“Claire’s mother Deirdre has two brothers, a retired Captain and a homicide investigator and I have friends in the FBI who all called the detectives on the case to tell them that this is not going away. We will do whatever we have to do. If they don’t do it, we will do it ourselves and find some other people to investigate.”

“We are working with the detectives at the minute and listening to their directives. But it just takes so much time. We can’t get over it. There’s so much pain.”

“Claire was so beautiful. She had her own music on iTunes and was very popular, especially in India. She was making her way like any other struggling artist, writing songs, performing and making records in trying to make a name for herself.”

“She would get bagels every day to give to the homeless. She was a good soul. Two days before her body was found, Derek talked to her at 9:30 am and she was so happy. She was moving to her new apartment that afternoon and we didn’t know that she never showed up.”

“All her stuff, all her furniture was already in the apartment. She just had to go there and settle in but she never got to spend one night there.”

“Something happened between talking to her dad and when she was found. Where was she? It’s just so heartbreaking for all of us, especially her parents Deirdre and Derek and sisters Sarah, Mary and Julia.”

Original Article