herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Family to make fresh TV appeal for help in finding missing pair

Willie Maughan and his partner Anna Varslavane
Willie Maughan and his partner Anna Varslavane
Joseph Maughan

The family of a man and his partner who vanished more than a month ago are to make a fresh appeal for information as they grow increasingly concerned about their safety.

Willie Maughan (34) and his partner Ana Varslavane (20) went missing from the Gormanston area of Co Meath on April 14.

His father has said he fears the couple were targeted because his son "knew too much" about a gangland murder last year.

"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," Joseph Maughan previously said.

"Our son is not a criminal and his girlfriend is an innocent girl. We want them back no matter what."

READ MORE: Missing Willie refused to do a hit for ruthless gangsters

The Herald understands that gardai are investigating a possible connection between the disappearances and an organised crime gang.

READ MORE: Family fear drug gang targeted missing couple: 'Our son knew too much'

The leader of the drug gang is a settled Traveller in his early 30s who is described as "extremely ruthless".

Mr Maughan was due to meet his mother at around 3pm on April 14, and she became worried when he did not show up as arranged.

The couple had been living in a mobile home and were planning to move in with Mr Maughan's family in Tallaght the day they went missing. They have not been seen since, and there have been no transactions on their bank cards.

Ms Varslavane's passport is with gardai in Meath, so they would not have been able to leave Ireland by air.

Since the couple went missing, the family have searched their locality and farmers have been checking land and outbuildings in Louth, Dublin and Meath.

The wider Maughan family have been living for 35 years in Tallaght, where Mr Maughan's father runs a minibus business.

He is also the founder of the Sacred Heart football club.

Joe Maughan and his wife Helen have previously appealed for information, and will make a renewed request on tonight's Crimecall programme on RTE1.

Gardai say William Maughan, who had a drug problem, was not involved in any serious crime. A plumber by trade, he 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 that was carried out last year.

It is believed the couple were abducted in the Gormanston area while they were in the process of packing their belongings to start a new life in Tallaght.

Ms Varslavane had no connections with crime and is believed to have been an entirely innocent victim.

The case is still officially a missing persons investigation, but the couple's families say they fear the worst.

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