‘Just give us back the bodies’: Father’s appeal over son and his girlfriend missing since 2015

Willie Maughan (35) and Anastasija (Anna) Varslavane (21) are believed to have been murdered

The father of a man believed murdered along with his pregnant girlfriend has made an emotional plea for people who know where their bodies are to “leave a mark” and make an anonymous phone tip-off so he can give them a proper burial.

Willie Maughan (35) and Anastasija (Anna) Varslavane (21) were last seen in Gormanston, Co Meath, on the afternoon of Sunday April 14th, 2015.

Joe Maughan, Willie's father, says the couple, who were expecting a child, were murdered because his son "knew so much" about the activities of a criminal gang. A gangland criminal feared they were about to go to the garda and link him to the gun killing of Benny Whitehouse in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, in 2014, investigators believe. Mr Whitehouse was shot on September 25th, 2014, shortly after dropping his six-year-old daughter to a nearby national school.

“We can’t change what happened, but all we want is for me and my family - I’m 64 years of age, my missus isn’t far behind me - that before I leave this earth I would like to put my son in a coffin where he should be in a consecrated ground in a graveyard with his brother,” said Mr Maughan.

“I am pleading with people out there that mightn’t be involved but (who were) there on the day it happened, I’m asking them to look at their own kids and think about it.

“It could be their kids next.”

Mr Maughan said his son was a plumber by trade and at the time the economy dipped, he had moved to Balbriggan were he got involved with a gang while playing pool and darts.

“They used my son as a ghillie doing things for them,” he told RTÉ’s Liveline.

“But he copped on to himself after so long, and he broke away from them. But the sad part is that he lived out there and he knew so much from the time he was involved with them.

“The day he went missing, he had went into shops in Balbriggan and bought up-to-date tools to start back to work at plumbing.”

Ms Varslavane, from Latvia, was killed because she was with him at the time, he believes.

Mr Maughan said he knows his son’s killers and that there was a “large number of people” involved. Gardaí told him they have “upgraded” the missing persons case to double murder based on “intelligence”, he said.

“I’m asking those people if they can see it in their hearts, look up at the sky at God looking down at them, clear their conscience and make the right phone call to the right people,” he said.

“They don’t have to identify themselves to do this, just say the right thing. I am asking those people to help me bury my son with his brother and Anna can get a Christian burial as well.”

Mr Maughan and his wife Helen had seven children, and lost another son, Michael Bobby, 11 years ago to bacterial meningitis at the age of 30.

The gang who killed Willie and Anna were suspected of being behind the digging up of Michael Bobby's grave at Bohernabreena Cemetery in Tallaght in 2016, a day after the family had appealed for information about the killings.

Mr Maughan said his family are devastated.

“My wife is like any woman looking for her child - heartbroken,” he said.

“She is a broken woman, the same as myself.”

Appealing to those who he says know the whereabouts of the couple’s remains, he said: “Just give us back the bodies if you know where they are - leave a mark or something and make a phone call.”