A private investigator has begun the search for former rugby player Bryn Hargreaves in the United States, amid fears by his family that potential criminality could be behind his mysterious disappearance.
Hargreaves, 36, was reported missing more than five months ago by his employer after he was unable to get to work and it triggered a massive search for police and tracking dogs in West Virginia.
Repeated attempts to track him down failed, however, and his family created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a private detective to take on the role.
“The police there are not doing anything.” Bryn’s older brother Gareth, 38, told the PA news agency. “There are some things that have come to light that need to be investigated that haven’t been previously.
“The only way to make that happen is through a private investigator. There are possible clues and motives that could lead to criminal outcomes.”
PA news agency contacted the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office for comment.
Hargreaves, who played in the Super League for Wigan, St Helens and Bradford before moving to the United States to work in the oil and gas industry 10 years ago, disappeared without a trace from his apartment on Jan. have been kidnapped.
“Bryn had mental health issues and was in severe back pain from a car accident in December,” Gareth said. “He was also away from his family over Christmas.
“The most likely scenarios were that he decided to get hurt or he decided to disappear for a bit and come back.
“But five months later, those two possibilities seem less likely because you have to think a body would show up.
“We had his bank account investigated by the police which showed that there are no withdrawals and his wallet and ID and passport are still in his apartment so he had no way of accessing his money and no ID to travel.
“Then you start thinking about the other possibility, that he didn’t plan on disappearing and that someone had some input, through abduction or something along those lines.
“You start thinking about all the weird things as they start to add up. When the police came to his apartment, the door was closed but unlocked and the shower was still on.
“And on the night of his disappearance he had ordered two bottles of gin from a mail-order company to be delivered within a day or two.”
Bryn’s mother Maria and younger brother David, 34, flew to the United States earlier this year to help look for him, but the saga is taking a toll on the family.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a little difficult,” said Gareth, who is married and has an 11-week-old and a three-year-old. “If we had to go back there, we would.”
The family has decided the best option is a private investigator, who started work a week ago and hopes to raise at least £20,000 to offset the cost.
“If we can get 30,000 rugby league fans to give a pound each, we will have all the funds necessary to make that happen,” added Gareth.
“We are trying to get £20,000, but how long is a piece of string? There’s over £4,500 in there so far, which is phenomenal and lets us get the ball rolling.”
Gareth says any remaining money will be donated to RL Cares, the charity arm of the Rugby Football League that helped pay for Maria’s trip to the United States in January and is providing weekly counseling.
Hargreaves played for Wigan before joining St Helens and was on the team that won the 2008 Challenge Cup at Wembley.
He later joined Bradford but dropped out of the game at age 26 when the Bulls went bankrupt and moved to the United States.
Details of the GoFundMe website can be found at: https://gf.me/v/c/bv4m/bryn-hargreaves-missing.