Tragic two-year-old girl dead in Co Tyrone named as AliJayden McGuire as man, 32, quizzed by cops on suspicion of murder

A MAN is being quizzed by cops on suspicion of murder following the death of a two-year-old girl.

The baby, named locally as AliJayden (AJ) McGuire, suffered “a serious head  injury” while at an address in Park Avenue in Dungannon, Co Tyrone on Friday evening.


The tot’s mother, Jade McGuire, who is originally from Dublin but had been living locally, had earlier dropped AJ and her baby brother, DJ, off at the property before having to turn back when informed of the incident. She was tonight being comforted by family.

It is understood PSNI officers and paramedics who arrived at the scene were told that the child had been injured after falling against a fireplace.

A source said: “It was initially claimed the child had fallen against a fireplace, striking her head and then stopped breathing.

“Police have confirmed the first report was of a serious head injury.

“The mother was said to have only just driven away after leaving the child and the baby off when she was called back and found her daughter badly injured.

“An ambulance was called and paramedics were inside the house for some time. The investigation is ongoing.”

TRIBUTES PAID

Tributes to the little girl last night flooded social media.

One pal said: “You were too precious for this world, rest easy baby girl.”

Another said: “My heart is broken in two for yous all. You were way too good for this earth.

“May you rest in peace, precious lil angel. I’m thinking of you all this is so so hard.”

Witnesses described seeing an ambulance arrive at the quiet cul-de-sac, who took the child to hospital, where she tragically later died.

Police maintained a presence at the house which was taped off while preliminary investigations were carried out.

MAN QUIZZED

Within hours however the situation changed and the incident became a murder inquiry.

A man, 32, was arrested on Friday night at a different address and remains in police custody.

As the news broke on Saturday morning, the area was in silent shock, as neighbours came one-by-one, to lay flowers along the wall of the house. One left an ornament of an angel weeping.

Detectives were carrying out house-to-house enquiries as uniformed officers stood guard over the house which is now a crime scene. One officer assisted an elderly lady to the wall to lay posy of white flowers.

Other neighbours, some of whom were crying, spoke of the tragic loss of the child who they were accustomed to seeing with their mum and baby brother.

'HARD TO TAKE IN'

One lady, who didn’t want to be identified, said: “I saw the ambulance and I prayed whoever was in it would be OK.

“I don’t think anyone knew at that point it was a child. But then the police were here and it started to come out what had happened.

“I think even then we didn’t realise how bad it was. Then we were told the child was dead. It’s hard to take in.”

Another neighbour, who also didn’t want to named, said: “We knew something had happened but not for a minute did we expect this.

“We didn’t find out about an arrest until this morning. God bless that wee child.”

Although the incident and an arrest on Friday night was widely known, the PSNI did not confirm details until Saturday morning.

'AWFUL EVENT'

Former Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster said: “Another tragic death in the constituency- this time a little girl.

“Thinking of all those dealing with this awful event, and trying to make sense of it all.”

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has said the local community is in shock after the incident.

The Fermanagh South Tyrone MP said: “My thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.

“A police murder investigation is underway and that must be allowed to proceed and I would call on anyone with any information which may help those inquiries to contact the PSNI.”

LOCAL HEARTBREAK

Local councillor Clement Cuthbertson said: “Heart breaking news in Dungannon last night, thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

Barry Monteith, an Independent Republican Councillor for Dungannon said: “Terrible, awful news about the tragic death of the 2 year old girl in Dungannon last night.

“Words don’t cover the horror of this. A community in shock.

“Thoughts of us all are with her loved ones.”

A statement advised detectives from the Major Investigation Team are investigating the circumstances of the death of a two-year-old girl.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “The child was admitted to hospital on Friday afternoon Friday after Northern Ireland Ambulance Service attended an address in Park Avenue in Dungannon with what was reported as a serious head injury. The child later died in hospital.

“As part of our investigation, we have arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of murder, and he remains in custody this morning.

“A post mortem will be conducted to establish the cause of the child’s death.

“Our thoughts are with the child’s family, which is being supported by Family Liaison Officers.

“We will update you in due course but, at this time, there are no further details.”

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