Tuesday 16 January 2018

Family vows to keep looking for answers on missing man

Caroline O’Donnell (left) and Helen Grealis, whose brother JP went missing in Holland in 2008
Caroline O’Donnell (left) and Helen Grealis, whose brother JP went missing in Holland in 2008
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

THE family of an Irishman who vanished without a trace in Holland six years ago have vowed to continue their search for answers after a Dutch court rejected an appeal to reopen a police investigation.

Carpenter James Patrick, or JP Grealis, from Achill Island, Co Mayo, has not been seen since he left a guesthouse in the Dutch town of Breda in October 2008. He was seeking work as a carpenter.

His distraught family have been critical of how Dutch police handled the investigation into his disappearance, which they officially closed in July 2012.

Relatives never accepted the Dutch police's theory that Mr Grealis, who was 24 when he went missing, deliberately broke off contact with them in order to start a new life elsewhere.


His older sister Helen described her brother as "happy" and always in contact with his family before he went missing.

She vowed to keep up the search for answers, even though the Dutch Court of Appeal last week dismissed the family's appeal, launched in May, that the investigation be reopened.

The family had argued that the police did not pursue several lines of inquiry into JP's disappearance.

However, the appeal court sided with the state's District Attorney in saying that there wasn't sufficient evidence to suggest that he had been a victim of crime.

Ms Grealis said the family was disappointed with the decision.

The court dismissed the complaint, because it – like the District Attorney – believed there was not enough evidence to suggest that the Mayo man was the victim of a crime.

They believe that there is a possibility that he has had "an accident" or disappeared by his own initiative.

"Also they believe that further investigation after all this time will probably not give more insight in what has happened to him," said Ms Grealis.

"Personally we feel that although there is not enough evidence to suggest a crime, the initial investigation was so incomplete that we do not have this evidence as such.

"Basically if they investigated what they should have at the time we would then have the evidence to prove something was amiss."

Irish Independent

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