The body of rugby league star Brian Hargreaves has been found more than a year after he went missing in the United States.
The former St Helens player, 37, was reported missing after he didn’t show up to work last January, prompting a massive police manhunt.
When officers arrived at his apartment in Morgantown, West Virginia, they found his door open and the bathroom shower still running, and all of his belongings, including his phone and Apple laptop, prompting fears that he had been kidnapped.
Announcing the news, his brother Gareth wrote on Facebook yesterday: Brian ripped Hargreaves. It is with incredible sadness that I can confirm that after 14 months we finally found Brian.
“We still don’t know the cause of death or what really happened on 3/1/22. Thanks to everyone who helped with the search.
His mother, Maria Andrews, also wrote on social media: “Not something I’d like to share. I’m in pieces #heart. My beautiful son Brian. I can’t think of any words to describe the pain xx.
Brynn, who is pictured with his ex-wife Amy, was reported missing in January last year when he failed to show up for work
Bryn Hargreaves has played in the Super League for Wigan, St Helens and Bradford, which he appears to represent here
Gareth Hargreaves announced the death of his brother Bryn on Facebook yesterday
At the time of his disappearance, Brin was working as a gas and oil pipeline safety inspector and was living alone in a three-bedroom apartment after his divorce from Amy Bombar two years earlier.
The Brain family last spoke to him on FaceTime on January 3, 2021, with his brother Gareth saying he ‘seemed fine’.
A spokesperson for the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Office said at the time of his disappearance that Brin was reported missing on January 16.
Police dogs were deployed to the Morgantown area of Cheat Lake, to no avail. ‘It’s like he was snatched from the bathroom,’ Gareth said at the time.
It is definitely my fear. He was apparently suffering from mental health issues and was suffering from severe back pain from a car accident in December.
I think the police thought he did something to himself and that’s definitely a possibility we fear as well. But after five months, a dead body would surely have turned up.
It’s a little weird that you’d disappear to leave your apartment unlocked with all your ID and some valuables.
It’s one of the reasons I can’t let this go. If he’s had rubbish time and he’s had enough to even take himself away, fair enough.
“But if something happens and we don’t try to help him or find him, I will never forgive myself.”
Investigators launched a manhunt that did not reveal any definitive leads.
His family launched a GoFundMe page to raise £20,000 to pay for a private investigator, but all searches were empty.
His mother and brother traveled to the United States on January 28 for a seven-week search for Brin.
Breen, from Wigan, has made 175 Super League appearances for the Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Bradford Bulls.
He retired from rugby aged just 26 after becoming disillusioned with the game and subsequently moving to the United States.
Brin has worked in the oil and gas industry and lives in Pittsburgh with his American wife Amy, whom he met on vacation in Mexico in 2013.
He married Amy in a ceremony in Pittsburgh that was attended by both of their family but after four years they began living separately and eventually filed for divorce.
Concerned friends said woman that the divorce “must have devastated him” as he was “very happy” when they married.
When the couple split, he moved to West Virginia, but Gareth said Brin was left feeling isolated during the Covid lockdown and suggested he might move back to the UK.
Last December, Brin had an accident with his jeep, which left him with severe back pain and unable to drive, instead relying on Uber to get around.
Gareth said earlier that the private investigator asked police if they could search a lake for Brin’s body and confirmed that he had some mental health issues.
But he claimed that the police would not grant permission to search, and although the family had money for a private investigation, this prevented them from proceeding.
Gareth previously said: ‘The private investigator said he couldn’t find any concrete evidence of anything.
But he believed Brin was in a bad mental state, and he had more evidence to back that up.
Breen, from Wigan, has made 175 Super League appearances for Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Bradford Bulls
Brin disappeared from his home in Whisper Creek, just outside Morgantown, West Virginia (pictured) where he had moved after retiring from rugby
Breen’s home was discovered empty and police said they were confident he wasn’t using his jeep, pictured
Breen, originally from Wigan, has made 175 appearances in the Sports Premier League, Super League, with the Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Bradford Bulls. Here he plays with the latter in 2011
It was believed that he was more likely to commit suicide, which we knew was a strong possibility. He wanted to search the lake again because he thought the initial search had some weaknesses. But the police will not grant that.
Gareth said he personally “struggled” with not getting answers about his brother’s whereabouts after he suddenly disappeared.
He alleged that there were lines of inquiry that the police should have pursued shortly after his disappearance.
“His phone was never accessed,” he said, “and they couldn’t. They never checked CCTV if I’m honest, which was a little disappointing.
Byrne had a distinctive tattoo on his forearm (pictured) that his family hopes will help track down their son
Hargreaves, pictured here on the right, played in the support position and played for Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Bradford Bulls
The last time his family spoke to him on Facetime was on January 3 – making it one of the most recent photos of Brynn to surface
Brin retired from rugby at the age of only 26 after becoming disillusioned with the game and then moved to the US to work in the oil and gas industry.
Unfortunately, no one has been able to establish a date or place where he was last seen or what he was wearing, which police said has hampered their attempts to find him.
After news of Brin’s death broke on social media, friends and other individuals paid tribute to the “sweet” and “cute” athlete.
A relative wrote: “Sadness. My nephew was a gentle, reserved, gentle giant who gave you his right arm.
A friend added: “RIP Bryn Hargreaves my old Mate.. tragic all this goes on lately with close friends and mates of maturity and playing rugby with the go.. wonderful memory as children.. instantly irks me.. tore my mate off.”
Another said: “To the whole family, I am so sorry for the loss of Brynn. It has not been an easy time these past 14 months. Brin left an impact on everyone he came into contact with and was loved by many people.
The cause of death has not been determined.
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