Body of British rugby star Bryn Hargreaves found over a year after he went missing

·3-min read
Bryn Hargreaves, pictured in his St Helens days (PA) (PA Archive)
Bryn Hargreaves, pictured in his St Helens days (PA) (PA Archive)

The body of former British rugby league player Bryn Hargreaves has been found more than a year after he went missing, his family has confirmed.

Mr Hargreaves, who was 36 at the time, was reported missing in January 2022 having failed to arrive for work in the West Virginia in the US. His disappearance sparked a major search led by police and tracker dogs.

His older brother, Gareth Hargreaves, announced the former player’s death on Facebook 14 months after he was last seen.

There were concerns for the safety of Bryn Hargreaves when he went missing last year (PA Archive)
There were concerns for the safety of Bryn Hargreaves when he went missing last year (PA Archive)

“RIP Bryn Hargreaves,” the post began. “With incredible sadness, I can confirm after 14 months we have finally found Bryn. We still do not know the cause of death or what actually happened on 3/1/22. Thanks to all those that have helped in the search. We would appreciate a little space and will keep you updated when we have any further information x.”

The player’s mother, Maria Andrews, also posted her thoughts, writing that she was “heartbroken” by the news. “Not something I wanted to be sharing,” she wrote. “I’m in bits #heartbroken my beautiful son Bryn I can’t think of any words to describe the pain xx.”

There were repeated attempts to track Hargreaves down over the past year but they were unsuccessful. His family set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise funds for a private detective to take on the role of finding him.

Mr Hargreaves was born in Wigan and achieved his boyhood dream of playing in the Super League for the Warriors. He also played for St Helens, where he won the 2008 Challenge Cup, before moving to the United States to work in the oil and gas industry 10 years ago, shortly after his final club, the Bradford Bulls, went bust.

MrHargreaves’ family believed he had been adbucted (PA)
MrHargreaves’ family believed he had been adbucted (PA)

At the time of Hargreaves' disappearance, his family believed that he may have been abducted.

“Bryn had mental health issues and was in severe pain with his back from a car accident in December (2021),” Gareth explained last June as they desperately continued the search. “He'd also been away from his family at Christmas. The most likely scenarios were that he decided to harm himself or had decided to disappear for a bit and come back.

“But five months on, those two possibilities look less likely because you've got to think a body would turn up. We had his bank account investigated by the police which showed there were no withdrawals and his wallet and his ID and passport are all still in his apartment so he had no means of access to his cash and no ID to travel.

Mr Hargreaves’ brother Gareth paid tribute on social media (Social Media)
Mr Hargreaves’ brother Gareth paid tribute on social media (Social Media)

“So you start to think of the other possibility, that he didn't plan to go missing and that someone has had some input, through abduction or something along those lines. You start to think of all the weird things at the time which start to add up. When the police went around 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 a couple of bottles of gin from a mail order firm to be delivered in the next day or two.”

The Independent has approached West Virginia Police for comment.