Eugenia Bratis: mystery

Gardaí have no definitive leads in their investigation into the murder of a Romanian woman found stabbed to death in Phoenix Park on 5 August but they are exploring the possibility that she was murdered by another homeless person in an attempted robbery.

Eugenia Bratis (50) from Timisoara, had been in Ireland since at least May. She had come to Ireland three or four times since 2007 to beg and send money home to her adult children in Romania.

The woman was only identified 10 days after gardaí released photographs of her despite an extensive public appeal both in Ireland and internationally. Her two children, both in their 20s, came to Ireland last week and identified their mother. The body is due to be flown home next week for burial and the Irish government is expected to pay for this on compassionate grounds.

Significant garda resources have been deployed to investigate the murder, which is being led by detectives at Blanchardstown. Challenges to solving the case include the fact that there is no CCTV footage around the Phoenix Park, meaning gardaí cannot track the woman's last movements as well as possibly identify her killer. Another problem is that because Bratis was not identified for 10 days, it made it difficult for gardaí to establish suspects.

"She had really kept to herself in Ireland. She was just here to earn some money begging and was sending cash back to her children in Romania regularly," said a garda source. "There are a few lines of enquiry but no arrests are imminent. It's a priority investigation. She would have been carrying a lot of money on her person – one avenue being explored is whether she was targeted for a robbery and then stabbed. This could have been carried out by another person on the street, who knew she was begging and earning a lot of money."