Woman wants to exhume her daughter buried in the same coffin as her father who killed her

Woman wants to exhume her daughter buried in the same coffin as her father who killed her

Rebecca Saunders is raising funds for her daughter, Clarissa, to be brought back to America away from the man who took her life.

On March 5th, 2013, Martin McCarthy carried his three-year-old daughter, Clarissa, and walked into the sea in a horrific case of murder-suicide. He did this because his wife, Rebecca Saunders, wanted a divorce after their marriage started deteriorating. She wanted to move back to America. McCarthy was a 50-year-old farmer, 24 years her senior. The same day she went to seek out legal advice for the separation, Saunders' husband and daughter had gone missing. All she found was a note from her husband. A manhunt was carried out and they found the bodies of the two, according to RTE. Father and daughter were buried together in the same coffin in Ireland.


Now, eight years after the incident, Saunders wants her daughter to be brought back to America. At the time, "in a fog of grief and shock," she had permitted her daughter to be buried "with the father she loved, but who took her life from her." The note McCarthy had left behind cruelly stated: “If you can take Clarissa to America I can take Clarissa to Heaven.” She now hopes to undo her mistake and have the remains of her daughter exhumed. She has started a GoFundMe called Clarissa's Cause, for the purpose of raising funds for what will be a tedious legal process. 


The fundraiser page read: "Due to the length and breadth of exhuming Clarissa, we are uncertain of what costs may incur along this journey. If a legal counsel has to be hired the process which will be extremely time-consuming and expensive." Her goal of raising $50,000 has already been met and the process of bringing her daughter back has already been set into motion. Saunders has been living under the weight that she had abandoned her little girl. So to bring Clarissa home would mean that this burden will be lifted and provide her with some closure as well.


"Today I spoke to a funeral director who assured me that, once the exhumation is carried out they could indeed separate Clarissa from her murderer," Saunders said in an update on the GoFundMe page. "The length of time that has passed since the burial is not an issue. I feel so relieved at this news since that was the biggest question in my mind as we go forward in applying to exhume Clarissa." She also stated that she had received McCarthy's death certificate that was needed for the application and everything was going well so far. She planned to complete all the paperwork and post it by the middle of May.


The funds not used in the process to exhume Clarissa will be donated to Edel House that supports victims of domestic violence and the Cork University Maternity Hospital Neonatal Unit. "I really can’t say that I feel I will ever be able to forgive him. I feel like he used his daughter as a sword to stab me in the heart. And I think that is very very wrong," Saunders said in an interview according to The Sun. She said that her decision to have her buried with her father was because she did not want her baby to be alone. It was later found out that McCarthy had not taken a split-second decision but had planned it out ahead to legally disallow Clarissa to leave the country.


Cover Image Source: GoFundMe/Clarissa’s Cause

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