Thirty-three years after his disappearance, it is believed that the body of Joseph Brendan Dowley has finally been identified.

The family of 63-year-old missing Irish man Joseph Brendan Dowley has welcomed the news that a body which washed up on a Welsh beach three weeks after his 1985 disappearance may be that of their father.

Dowley went missing 33 years ago in October 1985 after his daughter saw him off on a bus from Kilkenny which was to take him to a ferry departing for Holyhead, Wales. The father of four was never seen again and the body which was later found by an RAF man running on the Rhosneigr beach, Anglesey, on the morning of November 9, 1985, could never previously be formally identified.

Improvements in DNA technology, however, recently led to the North Wales police and the Garda missing persons bureau in Ireland having the remains exhumed in June of this year to complete further testing. The results have shown a positive result that the remains may, in fact, be Dowley.

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Joseph Brendan Dowley. Image: RTÉ Prime Time.

Joseph Brendan Dowley. Image: RTÉ Prime Time.

“We have received a very positive result from the familial DNA analysis of the remains exhumed from Menai Bridge Cemetery on 19 June,” said DS Don Kenyon of North Wales police, the officer leading the operation.

“The DNA report has been sent to coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones, who has already been provided with a full file of evidence in relation to the case of missing person, Joseph Brendan Dowley.

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“Dowley’s family have been kept updated with this most recent development and Pritchard Jones will now consider the entirety of the case to establish if there is sufficient evidence to make a formal identification.”

Dowley’s family had pushed for a further investigation to take place to confirm whether or not the remains found in 1985 were those of their father after the remains of Pauline Finlay, who disappeared from a Co Wexford beach in 1994, were only formally identified in 2016.

The family of an Irishman who disappeared almost 33 years ago has been told that DNA analysis has confirmed a match with a body that has remained unidentified in Wales since 1985

— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 4, 2018

“I want to thank the North Wales police, gardaí and Forensic Science Ireland for all their work on this case,” Dowley’s son Alan told RTÉ.

“I am glad we have had a positive result. It provides closure for our family, an inquest will be held in Wales and we can make arrangements.”

North Wales police have recently used modern DNA technology to help identify human remains discovered in the region over the past five decades under Operation Orchid. The operation prompted the investigation into the remains of Dowley and Kenyon said that it was hoped it would help to “bring some closure to families who have lived with uncertainty for such a long time.”

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