'We want them back, no matter what' - father's plea over missing couple
The parents of a man who has been missing for the past nine days have told of their fears that their son and his girlfriend have been abducted by a criminal gang.
William 'Willie' Maughan (34) and his 21-year-old Latvian girlfriend Anna Varslavane were last seen between 2pm and 3pm on Tuesday, April 14, in the Gormanstown area.
Yesterday, the Irish Independent revealed that gardaí and the man's family were worried for their safety.
Last night, the father of the missing man said he believed the couple were targeted because his son "knew too much" about a gangland murder.
Speaking from the family home in Tallaght, Dublin, Joseph Maughan said: "I believe that a certain group of people know what happened to William and Anna.
"My son knew something that he should not have known and that is why they have been taken away."
Mr Maughan added: "We are fearing the worst but praying to God for the best. We want to appeal to anyone who has any information to please come forward.
"Our son is not a criminal and his girlfriend is an innocent girl who had no family in this country.
"We want them back no matter what."
The Irish Independent understands that gardaí are investigating a possible connection between the disappearances and an organised crime gang.
The leader of the drug gang is a settled traveller in his early 30s, who is described as being extremely ruthless.
Gardaí say that William Maughan, who had a drug problem, was not involved in serious crime. A plumber by trade, the missing man stopped working due to his drug habit, but recently told his parents he was going to make a fresh start.
Security sources confirmed that he may have had knowledge of a major crime last year.
The couple had been living in a mobile home on land just off the M1 Motorway, in Gormanstown, for the past few months.
Mr Maughan and his girlfriend were planning on moving back to the family home in West Dublin on the day they went missing.
Mr Maughan's mother, Helen, said she believes her son and Ms Varslavane were abducted as she was driving to collect them.
"William had arranged to come home that day and I was on my way to collect him.
"He said he was breaking his links to the people he was associated with, and didn't want them to know that he was leaving."
Mrs Maughan said she received a call from Anna's phone as she was passing Dublin Airport on her way to Gormanstown.
"One of my children answered and he could hear voices in the background but no one spoke into the phone," she revealed.
"When I got to where I was to pick him up there was no sign of William or Anna. I was told they had left to go into Stamullan and someone else said that they had gone to Spain.
"I got a really bad feeling that something terrible had happened.
"I drove up and down to the place where William was supposed to be and there was no sign," she added.
"I knew these people were covering up something and they know what happened.
"I don't want to accept that anything bad has happened and I just want them back.
"Please, if anyone has any information, please come forward, we are all heartbroken," she added.
Gardaí have searched several locations in the area, including a quarry.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Ashbourne Garda Station on 01-8010600.
They can also call the Missing Persons Helpline on 18904425852.