independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Farm gives up dark secret but locals still mystified by death

Story by Barry Duggan 01-05-2013
Garda Forensics examining the slurry tank where the body of Bobby Ryan was discovered at the back of farm in Fawnagown outside Tipperary town.
Picture Credit: Brian Gavin Press 22
Garda Forensics examining the slurry tank where the body of Bobby Ryan was discovered at the back of farm in Fawnagown outside Tipperary town. Picture Credit: Brian Gavin Press 22

IT is a farm which has hidden a dark secret. For almost two years, Bobby Ryan's disappearance remained a mystery to all in Co Tipperary.

For 10 months up until his disappearance, the separated 52-year-old father had been in a relationship with widower Mary Lowry.

Mary's husband, Martin Lowry, died after a battle against cancer in 2007.

Mr Lowry was described by neighbours at Fawnagown, Co Tipperary, as an "extremely hard-working farmer" and the married couple had three young sons.

Following her husband's death, Mary Lowry met Mr Ryan – a separated father of two grown up children – in 2008.

The couple spent nights at Mr Ryan's home in Boherlahan or at her farm in Fawnagown.

Mr Ryan, a truck driver from Cashel, worked at weekends as a DJ across Tipperary and was popularly known by his stage name 'Mr Moonlight'.

His van was emblazoned with the slogan and he could mix socially with both young and old.

On the morning of July 3, 2011, Mr Ryan left the farm for work at Killough Quarry near Thurles.

However, he never made it to work and his Citroen van was discovered by his daughter Michelle at Bansha Woods on the same day.

Numerous searches were conducted across Co Tipperary.

Hundreds of volunteers were supported by a helicopter and emotional appeals were made by the Ryan family – all to no avail.

However, on Tuesday afternoon, the lush farmland located on the Tipperary to Bansha road – in the heart of the Golden Vale – offered up relief and despair at the same time for the Ryan family.

A man who had leased farmland from Ms Lowry found decomposed human remains in a disused slurry tank – less than 100 yards from the home that Ms Lowry shared with Mr Ryan.

DNA testing and a post-mortem examination were continuing yesterday.

In the towns of Tipperary and Cashel there is only one unanswered question on everyone's lips: What happened to Bobby Ryan?

Irish Independent

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