Garda search for evidence about missing Icelandic man ends in north Dublin

Santry Demesne searched for several days after anonymous tip-off about missing father of four Jon Jonsson

Several days of searching at a Dublin park have yielded no new evidence about the disappearance of Icelandic man Jon Jonsson in the capital five years ago. The search operation at Santry Demesne, a park and wooded area in north Dublin, was prompted by information contained in anonymous notes received by gardaí.

While cadaver dogs had at times this week alerted the search team to areas that required closer examination, the search has concluded with no worthwhile evidence uncovered. The searches this week are believed to be the first time such an operation was conducted in the case based on intelligence received.

However, the Garda team in Ballymun station do not know the source of the anonymous notes, meaning their veracity could not be checked. The investigation team decided to carry out the searches based on the notes, which were vague, out of an abundance of caution and thoroughness. There was never any significant expectation the operation would lead to a breakthrough in the case, it is understood.

The search team included Garda dog handlers with cadaver dogs as well as members of the Garda Water Unit as the Santry park includes a river and several other smaller bodies of water.


“As stated last week, the investigation team received two items of anonymous correspondence, the contents of which have been assessed,” the Garda said on Friday in an update on the case dating back to February 2019.

“Operational searches which took place in North Dublin this week have yielded no further information on the whereabouts of Jon Jonsson.

“The Garda investigation team are continuing to appeal to the author(s) of those correspondences to make direct contact with them. Any contact will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. The investigation into the whereabouts of Jon Jonsson remains ongoing.”

The second piece of anonymous correspondence is recent and is believed to have been passed to the Garda via a priest in north Dublin. It is understood the correspondence claims Mr Jonsson met foul play and identified Santry as a location of interest.

Gardaí are fearful that Mr Jonsson, a father of four who had come to Dublin to play poker when he vanished, died on the day he was last seen alive. While detectives have never ruled out foul play in his assumed death, the case officially remains a missing persons inquiry.

Mr Jonsson, a taxi driver from Reykjavík, vanished on the morning of Saturday February 9th, 2019 after leaving the Bonnington Hotel on the Swords Road, where he had been staying. He had come to Ireland the previous day for a poker tournament as part of a 10-day holiday.

His fiancee flew into Dublin the following morning and spoke to Mr Jonsson briefly in their hotel room. She went to get coffee downstairs and when she returned to the room Mr Jonsson had left and no trace of him has been found since.

He had started playing poker immediately after arriving in Dublin on February 8th and lost several thousand euro. Gardaí are trying to determine if those losses, or any efforts to secure more money, may have been the reason he left the hotel without telling his partner and drawn him into danger.

Mr Jonsson, who was aged 41 when he disappeared, left the hotel on foot at about 11am and was recorded by a security camera walking northwards on a footpath about 200m away as he passed the entrance to a nursing home near the hotel.

Beyond those images, which were released at the time as part of a public appeal, gardaí have no information about where he went or evidence of any further movements. Mr Jonsson had never been to Ireland before and had no friends or family based here. He had never gone missing before and had no known history of depression or self-harm.

Last week, on the fifth anniversary of his disappearance, it was revealed in a fresh Garda appeal that more than 270 lines of inquiry had been generated by the investigation team in Ballymun.

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Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times