The remains of former English rugby star Bryn Hargreaves were discovered in West Virginia last month, more than a year after he was first reported missing by his family, law enforcement said Monday.
The Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a press release that human remains discovered in Monongalia County on Feb. 26 have been identified as Bryn Hargreaves, who was living in West Virginia when his family in England first reported him missing on Jan. 16, 2022.
He was 36 at time of his disappearance.
"A large scale search of the Cheat Lake area was conducted by members of the Sheriff’s Department, Morgantown Police/Fire Search and Rescue, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, MECCA 911, and several individual volunteers’ over a several month period with negative success," the sheriff’s department said.
A cause of death has not been released pending a complete autopsy report.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by Hargreaves’ family, the former Wigan Warriors star moved to the U.S. over a decade ago after retiring from rugby. The family alleges that he went missing on Jan. 3, 2002, just two weeks before he was officially reported missing.
"He has had some unfortunate life events and became isolated due to COVID-19, leading to mental health issues of late," brother Gareth Hargreaves wrote on the fundraising page.
The family turned to the help of a private investigator and the investigation presented "no leads or progress" five months into their search.
Eamonn McManus, chairman of St. Helens R.F.C. where Hargreaves played as prop forward for four seasons, released a statement on Monday.
"Bryn was extremely well liked and respected by his teammates and by all involved with the club during his four seasons with us from 2007 to 2010. He was very much part of the great Saints team of that era and was a World Club Challenge winner in 2007 and a Challenge Cup winner in 2008."
McManus continued: "It is a real tragedy that he has died at such a young age. He will be remembered with genuine warmth and with affection by us all."
According to WDTV, law enforcement discovered Hargreaves’ remains in a wooded area near South Pierpont Rd. and the Hanalei Development.
His last known location was the Whisper Creek Apartment Complex in the Cheat Lake area. According to The Sacramento Bee, the location the remains were found in were less than a mile from Hargreaves' apartment.