NewsCrime Desk

Searches for missing couple begin close to major motorway

Vanished: Willie Maughan and his girlfriend Anna Varslavane
Vanished: Willie Maughan and his girlfriend Anna Varslavane

Searches are under way for missing couple Willie Maughan and Anna Varslavane who are feared dead.

The pair were reported missing on April 14 last by relations, and despite a number of public appeals regarding their whereabouts from Willie's family, they still have not been found.

Gardai are searching an area on the Dublin-Meath border near the M1 motorway.

The operation along the Delvin River has been ongoing since Wednesday and more searches are expected today.

Sources say gardai are working on information that the couple's bodies had been dumped in a pond close to the motorway.

It is feared that a Dublin criminal gang murdered the pair and dumped their bodies at a rural location.

Several searches have taken place in the north Dublin area since their disappearance.

Mr Maughan (38) had quit his job as a plumber because of a drug problem, but his father, Joe, said his son was planning on moving back home and starting his life over again.

Following his son's disappearance, Joe said he believed his son had knowledge on information that was dangerous to his welfare.

"My son knew something that he should not have known and that is why they have been taken away," said Joe.

The missing man was living with 21-year old Latvian, Anna Varslavane, in a mobile home near Gormanstown, just off the M1 motorway. He was due to return to his family home in Tallaght on the day he disappeared.

His mother, Helen had been due to collect the couple that day, and raised the alarm immediately when they weren't at the mobile home.

"William had arranged to come home that day and I was on my way to collect him.

"He said he was breaking links to the people he was associated with and didn't want them to know that he was leaving," said Ms Maughan.

She said that she received a phone call from Anna while on the way to collect the two near Gormanstown, but could only hear people speaking in the background.

"One of my children answered and he could hear voices in the background but no one spoke into the phone," she said.

"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," added Ms Maughan.

The family has made a number of appeals on Mr Maughan's whereabouts, most recently on May 24, when the case was brought up on RTE's Crime Call programme.

"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," said Joe.

Sarah Stack, Ryan Nugent and Ken Foy