Disappearance of Icelandic poker player in Dublin mystifies family

Jon Jonsson (41) left hotel he was staying in with fiancee 11 days ago and did not return

Jon Jonsson (41) left the hotel without taking  his passport, wallet or phone. Photograph: Garda Press Office

Jon Jonsson (41) left the hotel without taking his passport, wallet or phone. Photograph: Garda Press Office

 

The family of an Icelandic man, missing in Dublin for nearly two weeks said they cannot understand why Jon Jonsson (41) left the hotel he was staying in with his fiancee and never returned.

His brother, David Karl Vihelm, who is one of 12 relatives who have come to the Dublin to search for the missing taxi driver, said “we will stay as long as we need to. We are not leaving Dublin without our brother. That’s how it is.”

Mr Karl Vihelm told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke Show it was common in Iceland to organise searches for missing persons.

“This is very common back home, we have SAR teams (Search And Rescue) so if someone goes missing this is what happens, we send out a search party to find the person,” he said.

“We are finishing up our assigned search areas, now we are organising, with a team of locals and the SAR specialists, a huge search on Saturday. It starts at 9.30am.”

Mr Jonsson came to Dublin on February 8th with his fiancee to participate in a poker tournament.

“He was last seen the following day, we tracked his movement with CCTV,” his brother said.

Mr Karl Vihelm said Mr Jonsson was last seen walking up the Swords Road, close to the Highfield hospital area.

“That’s the last known movement. He was staying in the Bonnington Hotel, he left hotel room and is seen walking up the street.”

His brother said when Mr Jonsson left the hotel room, “he left his phone behind . . . it had been having battery problems. We are not sure why he didn’t take it with him.”

Left without passport

Mr Jonsson also left without his passport, wallet or phone.

“We’ve tracked his activity online, there’s been no activity on his cards, he might have had some cash on him, we’re uncertain.

“If he had cash, it was not that much, we’re talking maybe a few thousand euros. That was for the poker tournament. We didn’t find any money in the hotel room. We can’t think of any reason why he disappeared.”

His fiancee reported Mr Jonsson missing the following day and since then the family has been working with the gardaí, who they said were doing a great job.

“We do not know why he left the hotel, his fiancee went to the bar area for a coffee, when she came back he was gone,” Mr Karl Vihelm said.

Mr Karl Vihelm said his brother’s physical and mental health was good. “To our knowledge, was just normal, he has no history of any mental health diseases or medications.

“He had never gone missing before. This is very unlike him. He works as a taxi driver back home, if he works late or something he always reports back to his family or fiancee. He is a father of four children. This is out of character.”

Mr Jonsson is the eldest of five siblings and Mr Karl Vihelm said the family was very close.

“Iceland is a small community, we are 360,000 people, everyone knows everyone so this has been a really hard time for the family and close ones.

Media attention

“When we heard he had gone missing we hoped it would be solved soon, two days later we decided to come here, we hoped it would be sorted quickly. It was clear then that we had to take steps, the first was to get the word out to the public, by making this as public as possible.”

The case has generated a lot of media attention in Iceland, he added.

“On the third day we decided to set up a specialist search with the help of SAR specialists from Iceland, so we set up searching areas that we have been scanning, ever since then. We have searched hundreds of kilometres, focussing on searching and hanging up fliers and posters, with picture and information about Jon. Then we have a team back in Iceland focussing on social media, getting the word out.

“We are extremely grateful that we have had wonderful support from the local people here, they’ve been helping us searching, transportation, offering accommodation, so yes, very kind people offering to help us.”

Anyone who has seen Mr Jonsson or who can assist in locating him is asked to contact Ballymun Garda station on 01 6664400, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111, or any Garda station. A gofundme page has been set up to help with the rescue effort.