It’s a news story that has dominated the headlines since the middle of January, but investigators and search parties are still no closer to finding former Bradford Bulls and St Helens prop Bryn Hargreaves.
His mother Maria Andrews made the Atlantic trip when she found out he was missing and she – along with his brother – are still out there hunting for him.
But, his brother now believes that Bryn could have been abducted.
“It’s almost like he was abducted from his shower,” his brother Gareth told Lancashire Live.
“It’s certainly a fear of mine. Obviously he was having mental health issues and in severe pain with his back from a car accident in December.
“I think the police thought he’d done something to himself and that certainly is a possibility that we also fear. But five months later, surely a body would have turned up.
“It’s a bit strange if you wanted to disappear to leave your apartment unlocked with all your ID and some of your prized possessions. It’s one of the reasons I can’t leave this. If he’s had a rubbish time and had enough so he’s taken himself away, that’s fair enough.
“But if something has happened and we didn’t try to help or find him I could never forgive myself.”
Gareth has set up a GoFundMe page in order to hire a private investigator.
“They turned over every stone as you can imagine, but it’s just gone cold.
“It’s been dreadful, it’s been the worst five months of my life. My mum is broken, she’s having counselling, it’s taken such a toll on her.
“My brother has just got married and it’s a lot for him to take on. I’ve just had a baby, who is nine weeks old now so we’ve had to put it on the back burner for a little bit but now I’m trying to get life back together and chase this again.
“I want to find him, I want to bring him home. If that’s not possible, I need closure. I just don’t understand what’s happened.”
The GoFundMe page states: “Hi, my name is Gareth Hargreaves; I’m the brother of ex Wigan, St Helens and Bradford player Bryn Hargreaves, who has been missing in the USA since 3rd January 2022. www.findbrynjack.com
“Bryn left the UK and rugby league 10 years ago to go to the USA. He has had some unfortunate life events and became isolated due to covid, leading to mental health issues of late.
“We appreciate all the hard work of the local/sate police departments and helpful community, but unfortunately, after 5 MONTHS, there have been NO LEADS OR PROGRESS.
“My mum and brother flew out to the USA on 28th January for 7 weeks, thanks to the support of Rugby League Cares, for which we will be eternally grateful. Despite gathering further information and investigating many avenues, there are still NO LEADS OR PROGRESS.
“We are no closer to finding Bryn after 5 months and fear for his welfare.
“We would now like to appoint a private investigator, following legal advice from a former assistant district attorney in the USA.
“For this, we need your help! We hope friends, work colleagues, well-wishers and the rugby league community will support us in our quest to find my brother and bring him home!
“Our goal is to raise £20,000 to fund private investigators to look into Bryn’s disappearance.
“All monies donated will principally be used to fund the investigation into Bryn’s disappearance.
“The fund balance may be used in repatriation if the worst is found.
“Some monies may need to be used for legal expenses in sorting and protecting Bryn’s assets, with my mum potentially needing to go back over to the USA to do so.
“Any remaining balance will be donated to Rugby League Cares to continue their great work in the aftercare of players and generally within the rugby league community.”
The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group has conducted multiple searches with dogs, with no success.
Dive Master First Sergeant Nick Schmidle elaborated. “It’s a pretty vast area so we’re going to focus on the one that most dogs have hit on first and then we’ll go to the other one and check that with sonar and see if we can see anything on their sonar.”
It’s been a brutal few months for Hargreaves family but Andrews has found support along the way.
“…, and the support of Beth and Ken and yourselves, and anyone else who’s – quite a few people out there…just gives me hope every day that I can be strong enough to find him and we just want him to come home,” she said.
Bryn Hargreaves is about 6′2, has a tattoo of his family crest on his left shoulder, and looks athletic since he used to play professional rugby. He’s also from the U.K., so he has an accent.