US backpacker missing in Clare since 2005 pronounced dead

Passport and mobile phone of New Jersey native were washed up on beach

At an inquest in Ennis yesterday, coroner Isobel O’Dea pronounced Steven Davaris  dead. The probable time of death was July 2005. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

At an inquest in Ennis yesterday, coroner Isobel O’Dea pronounced Steven Davaris dead. The probable time of death was July 2005. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Mystery still surrounds the disappearance 11 years ago of a US backpacker who was only yesterday officially pronounced dead an at inquest in Ennis.

New Jersey native Steven Davaris (32) vanished while travelling in Co Clare in July 2005.

Mr Davaris’s body has never been recovered but his passport and mobile phone were washed up on a beach on July 12th, 2005, four days after his arrival in Ireland.

The last sighting of Mr Davaris was in a pub in Inagh, Co Clare.

In a deposition at yesterday’s hearing, Mr Davaris’s sister, Ann, said her brother told his parents on July 6th that he would be going down to the Jersey shore.

The Davaris family had no idea that Steven had travelled to Ireland from New York on an Aer Lingus flight, arriving into Dublin on July 8th, 2005, until a west Clare woman, Josephine Ryan, answered his mobile phone in response to a call from the man’s mother, Ann-Marie Davaris, on July 14th.

Rucksack washed up

Ms Ryan’s husband, John Joe, found Mr Davaris’s rucksack which had washed up on a beach at Seafield, Quilty, while out walking two days previously.

Ms Ryan transferred the SIM card from Mr Davaris’s water- damaged phone to her own phone to accept the call.

When the Davaris family became aware that Steven was last seen in Co Clare, they established a website seeking information about him.

No member of the Davaris family was present at yesterday’s hearing, and the only witnesses present were the Ryans, who were praised by gardaí for their actions in the case.

In her deposition, Ann- Marie Davaris said she believed that her son “drowned and took his own life at Cliffs of Moher in July 2005”.

Body not found

Coroner Isobel O’Dea said the Davaris family contacted gardaí last December seeking that an inquest be held, and Ms O’Dea had to secure special permission from the offices of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice for the inquest to be held as no body has been found.

In her deposition, Ann- Marie Davaris said: “I am just looking for some closure at this stage.

“I appreciate everyone’s help – it has been a really bad time for the family. You never really get over it,” she continued.

“I didn’t know that Steve was in trouble or feeling depressed or down. He was a good man. He had no gambling or alcohol problems. He was a person who would help anyone.”

Ms Davaris said her son loved Ireland and had visited three or four times.

Steve’s sister, Ann, said that Steve had lost his job in April 2005 and had no history of depression.

She said he had been withdrawn and moody over the previous six months.

Ms O’Dea said, “I would like to formally pronounce Steven Davaris dead on today’s date. The probable time of death was July 2005. I hope that this gives the family some closure.”