Will DNA solve mystery of missing Kilkenny man?

The 63 year old never seen again after getting on bus in Kilkenny city

Sean Keane


Sean Keane



Will remains turn out to be those of missing Kilkenny man

Brendan Dowley

The determination of a loving son may solve the riddle of his missing father.

Alan Dowley, who grew up in Kilkenny has never given up on his search for hid dad, Brendan who was last seen getting on to a bus in Kilkenny city back in 1986.

Alan, his mother who is 97 years old and his sibings are awaiting news from a team of forensic police specialists who are set to exhume the body of man from a grave at a cemetery in Anglesey in north Wales.

A recent cold case review by North Wales Police and gardaí has led detectives to believe there is a strong likelihood the body is that of Mr Dowley – who was known as Brendan – and who was 63 years old when last seen alive in October 1985. Mr Dowley was living in London at the time of his disappearance.

The last sighting of him was by his daughter who dropped him off at the bus station in Kilkenny city, where Mr Dowley was due to travel to Dublin and from there by ferry to Wales.

He never arrived home to London, and his whereabouts have remained a mystery for more than three decades.

However, based on a review of medical records from England obtained by the Dowley family in recent years, it seems that scars on the unidentified body are a match to the medical history of Mr Dowley.


The unidentified body was found washed up in Wales on 9 November 1985, and had been in the water for a number of weeks.

In July of last year, RTÉ Prime Time interviewed Brendan Dowley's son, Alan, as part of a report about the growing awareness that a number of bodies found washed up in Wales were Irish people last seen on the east coast of Ireland.

Alan Dowley and his siblings have now given their DNA samples, which will be compared to a sample taken from the body being exhumed in Wales today.

The exhumation has been ordered by the North Wales Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones.

Before the exhumation begins, a local Catholic priest will conduct a brief graveside blessing.

It is hoped a DNA profile will be generated from the body within weeks, and this in turn will then be compared to samples provided by the Dowley family.

Only then will it be known if the body that has lain at Menai Bridge Cemetery in Wales since 1985 is in fact that of Mr Dowley.