The Irish Mail on Sunday
Car f ire mother sent text just before blaze
Message was sent moments before the horrif ic f ire ripped through the parked car in which two young children died
‘I am hoping it was some kind of a malfunction’
THE mother of two young children discovered in a burning car sent a text just moments before a blaze ripped through the vehicle.
Last night gardaí were treating the family home at Rathowen, Co. Westmeath, as a crime scene as part of their ongoing investigation to establish what happened in the final hours before two-year-old Michael Egar and his five-year-old sister, Thelma, died.
A source told the Irish Mail on Sunday: ‘There were two crime scenes – the road where the car was found and the family home.
‘It seems that before the burning car was discovered outside Multyfarnham on Friday afternoon that the children’s mother sent a text.
‘The results of tests done on the two children should reveal a lot and these results will determine what direction the investigation will go.’
The two children were declared dead on Friday evening after a ‘Good Samaritan’ farmer braved the flames to try and rescue the siblings and their mother, Lynn Egar, from the blazing car.
The vehicle was parked in the middle of an isolated country road just a few kilometres outside the scenic village of Multyfarnham.
However, despite the brave man’s best efforts he failed to save all three.
It is believed that by the time the farmer came upon the scene little Thelma – who was due to celebrate her sixth birthday next month – had already died.
Her young brother Michael was taken to Mullingar hospital where he died a short time later.
Their mother Lynn was airlifted to a Dublin hospital. She is expected to make a full recovery.
A friend of the family told the MoS: ‘I just can’t believe this has happened. She and her husband Michael moved to Rathowen about five years ago. They bought a house that had been vacant for a long time and they were doing it up bit by bit.
‘Michael and Thelma were like two peas in a pod and Thelma was the cut of her mother. Lynn had two older children from a previous relationship and she was so proud of her two older children. She
would talk often about what a good help they were to her and helping out in the house.
‘I am trying not to think about what has happened and I am hoping it was some kind of a malfunction. I just can’t believe what has happened. It’s a heartbreak. It’s devastating.’
The friend revealed that when Lynn was pregnant with Michael she was brutally attacked by two drug users while she was working in a garage in Longford.
‘She had some serious injuries to her back and they were so bad she worried at the time whether she would be able to have a normal delivery with Michael,’ she said.
The grim scene the farmer came upon was on a single-lane boreen known locally as the Coole Road. Gardaí reopened the road yesterday evening, just a little over 24 hours after his discovery.
All that remained on the tranquil country lane not far from the shores of Lake Derravaragh, where legend has it the ‘Children of Lir’ were turned into swans, were lengthy charred scorch marks running for 12-15 metres in the middle of the road.
The grass verges along both sides appeared to have been recently cut back, possibly to help gardaí search for clues.
Meanwhile, parts of a brake light sat alongside pieces of salmon-and-cream-coloured synthetic material that might have been a knapsack.
The car Michael and Thelma were travelling in with their mother had been removed from the scene several hours earlier to be forensically examined.
But 24 hours later there was still an overwhelming smell of burning.
About 11km away, a green and yellow digger sat on the front lawn of the children’s home on the outskirts of Rathowen.
In a statement last night, gardaí said they are continuing their investigation into the deaths of the young siblings.
A Garda spokesman said: ‘Postmortems have concluded on the bodies of both deceased by the State pathologist, Dr Sally Ann Collis. Results of the postmortem examinations are not being released for operational reasons.
‘Forensic examination of the vehicle by the Garda Technical Bureau is continuing.
‘A female in her 40s continues to be treated for serious but non-lifethreatening injuries at a Dublin hospital.
‘An Garda Síochána continue to appeal to any person with any information in relation to this fatal incident to contact them.
‘The incident room at Mullingar Garda Station can be contacted on 044 9384000, or contact the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.
‘A Garda family liaison officer continues to keep the family updated at this time.
‘The investigation is ongoing and further updates will follow.’
■ If you need to speak to somebody about any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact The Samaritans at 116 123, Aware at 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House at 1800 247 247.