POLICE and forensic experts are to exhume human remains which washed up on an Anglesey shore over 30 years ago.

The remains, which are to be removed from the Menai Bridge Cemetery on Tuesday, are believed to be those of 63-year-old Irish citizen Joseph Brendon Dowley, who disappeared in October, 1985.

Mr Dowley, who had been living in London, was last seen by a relative after he had been visiting family in Ireland.

On the morning of November 9, in 1985, an airman from RAF Valley, who had been running on the beach at Rhosneigr, discovered the body of a man who appeared to have been brought ashore on the tide.

Despite an extensive Police investigation at the time all enquiries made to identify him proved fruitless and a subsequent Coronial Inquest returned an ‘open verdict’.

His death was not treated as suspicious and he was subsequently interred at the Menai Bridge cemetery.

The exhumation is part of an on-going investigation to identify the remains and North Wales Police acting for HM Coroner for north west Wales Mr Dewi Pritchard Jones will oversee the process.

It follows an investigation under Operation Orchid where detectives from North Wales Police have been using the latest DNA technology to help identify human remains discovered in the region over the last five decades.

DC Don Kenyon, leading the investigation said: “We combine the latest advances in DNA technology and traditional investigative methods to help conclude enquiries started years ago to help bring some closure to families who have lived with uncertainty for such a long time.

"Criminality is not suspected in any of the cases and the focus of the operation is simply to identify, reunite and allow the dignity of a funeral service for family and friends to pay their respects.”

“As a result of our investigations, and with the assistance of the Missing Person Bureau and the Gardaí in Ireland, we now believe there is a strong possibility the remains are those of Joseph Brendon Dowley, a 63-year-old Irish citizen living at the time in London.

"Mr Dowley had been visiting family in Ireland in October 1985 and was last seen when he was driven to the ferry terminal by a relative."

The purpose of the exhumation is to gain a DNA profile for comparison with the DNA of family members of Mr Dowley in Ireland, who have been kept fully aware of developments.

DC Kenyon added: "If the identity is confirmed by HM Coroner we hope to reunite Mr Dowley with his family as soon as possible to grant them the dignity and comfort of a full funeral service.

Before the exhumation begins, and at the family’s request, a local Catholic Priest will conduct a brief graveside blessing.

DC Kenyon added: “I am also very conscious of the feelings of the families of all those buried in the cemetery and sensitivities in the surrounding community.

"I can assure all that due regard and respect will be paid during the process which we hope to have concluded by late afternoon. Our thoughts remain with Mr Dowleys family at this difficult time."

The cemetery will be closed for the day.