After over a year, the body of the former Rugby League star Bryn Hargreaves has been found, his family has confirmed. The 37-year-old was reported missing in January 2022 and his brother recently announced: “with incredible sadness we have finally found Bryn.”
The Rugby League star moved to the US about 10 years ago after quitting the sport and after his disappearance, his family turned to a private investigator in a bid to find him after the police search ‘turned up nothing’. His former clubs St Helens and Bradford Bulls are among some to have expressed their sadness at the news and have paid tribute.
Mr Hargreaves was reported missing by his employer in January 2022 after he failed to arrive for work and a major search by police and tracker dogs began in West Virginia. He is said to have last spoken to his family on 3 January 2022, nine days before police were contacted.
David Hargreaves, Bryn’s younger brother, continued his post on Facebook by saying: “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 further information.”
Who was Bryn Hargreaves?
Born in 1985, Hargreaves was a professional rugby league player who began his career with the Wigan Academy in 2002. His first team debut came from the bench against Salford City Reds in July 2004 and his full debut came later that year.
Wigan Warriors gave the prop a full-time contract and by the end of the 2004 season, Hargreaves had been awarded the Under-21s Billie Joe Edwards and Craig Johnson Memorial Player of the Year Trophy. Although he was selected for the England U18s squad that toured Australia in 2004, he was requested to stay at home due to an injury crisis at Wigan.
In 2006, Hargreaves was sent out on loan to Leigh Centurions and was eventually released from his contract with Wigan later that season. At the time, Leigh Centurions, Hull Kingston Rovers and Harlequins RL were among many to express interest in the player but Hargreaves moved to St Helens where he made 115 appearances in his four years at the side. Following a number of injuries to Saints front-rowers in 2008, Hargreaves established himself as a first-team regular.
In 2010 it was announced he had signed a two-year contract with Bradford Bulls where he would remain until his retirement in 2012, despite having enjoyed an outstanding performance in his last season.
In his announcement, Hargreaves said he was “bitterly disappointed, angry and above all disillusioned by events off the field” which included the Bulls entering administration. He said he had been offered a new job that could sustain him for life, unlike rugby league: “we’re pieces of meat at the end of the day and we’re not treated with much respect in rugby league as it is.”
What has been said about his disappearance?
Little is known about why or how Hargreaves disappeared and the Foreign Office has said it was providing support to the family and was in contact with local authorities in the US.
St Helens’ RFC Chairman Eamonn McManus said: “Bryn was extremely well liked and respected by his teammates and all involved with the club during his four seasons with us from 2007 to 2010. He was very much part of the great Saints team of that era and was a World Club Challenge winner in 2007 and a Challenge Cup winner in 2008. He will be remembered with genuine warmth and with affection by us all.”
His later club, the Bulls, also took to Twitter to say: “We are extremely saddened to learn the body of former player Bryn Hargreaves has been found. Our thoughts and condolences are with Bryn’s family and friends at this difficult time.”