Body of missing ex-Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Bradford Bulls and Leigh Centurions prop Bryn Hargreaves found in America
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Hargreaves, then aged 36, was reported missing in January 2022 by his employer after he failed to arrive for work, which sparked a major search by police and tracker dogs in West Virginia.
Repeated attempts to track the former Balshaw’s High School and Runshaw College pupil down drew a blank, and his family set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a private detective to take on the role.
Sadly, 14 months later, the family's worst fears have been realised.
"RIP Bryn Hargreaves," his older brother, Gareth Hargreaves, posted on Facebook. "With incredible sadness I can confirm after 14 months we have finally found Bryn.
"We still do not know the cause of death or what actually happened on 3/1/22.
"Thanks to all those that have helped in the search.
"We would appreciate a little space and will keep you updated when we have any further information x"
Bryn's mum, Maria Andrews, also posted her thoughts on Facebook.
"Not something I wanted to be sharing," she wrote. "I'm in bits #heartbroken my beautiful son Bryn i can't think of any words to describe the pain xx"
Wigan-born Hargreaves, who played in Super League for the Warriors, St Helens and Bradford before moving to the States to work in the oil and gas industry 10 years ago, vanished without trace from his apartment.
His family believed at the beginning he may have been abducted.
"Bryn had mental health issues and was in severe pain with his back from a car accident in December (2021)," said Gareth last June. "He'd also been away from his family at Christmas.
"The most likely scenarios were that he decided to harm himself or had decided to disappear for a bit and come back.
"But five months on, those two possibilities look less likely because you've got to think a body would turn up.
"We had his bank account investigated by the police which showed there's no withdrawals and his wallet and his ID and passport are all still in his apartment so he had no means of access to his cash and no ID to travel.
"So you start to think of the other possibility, that he didn't plan to go missing and that someone has had some input, through abduction or something along those lines.
"You start to think of all the weird things at the time which start to add up. When the police went around to his apartment, the door was closed but unlocked and the shower was still on.
"And on the night of his disappearance he had ordered a couple of bottles of gin from a mail order firm to be delivered in the next day or two."
Hargreaves played for Wigan before joining St Helens and he was in the team that won the 2008 Challenge Cup at Wembley.
He later joined Bradford but quit the game at the age of 26 when the Bulls went bust and moved to the States.