An Irish mother in Queens is asking anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of her 49-year-old daughter who went missing a year ago to contact her immediately.
Kathleen Meehan, a County Cork native, is reaching out to members of the public in an effort to locate her daughter, Catherine (Cathy) Meehan Wray, after she left the country a year ago and hasn’t been heard from since
Meehan, who came to the U.S. in 1955, married a County Kerry man John and had three children, Tommy, Mary and Cathy, has spent the past 12 months sitting by the phone waiting for her oldest child, Cathy, 49, to make contact.
Wray, a stockbroker and registered nurse, last spoke to her father on June 7, 2008. She told him she was going to Ohio.
Meehan remembers the call only too well.
“We were up in our home in the country [Greenville, New York]. Cathy didn’t seem to want to talk to me but she spoke to her father and told him she was going to Ohio. And as far as I know she didn’t know anyone there,” Meehan said.
Wray went to Ohio but returned two days later. On June 16 she asked the doorman of her building to hold her mail because she going away and would be back at the end of the summer.
That was the last time anyone saw her.
It was later discovered that Wray flew from New York to Geneva, Switzerland that same day.
“I just don’t know what is going on or what to do. Cathy has never been in touch and it’s heartbreaking to not know where she is or if she is okay,” said Meehan. “I just wish to God she would call.”
Family's last sighting
The last time Meehan saw her daughter was at their family home in Middlevillage, Queens about a month before she left. “She let on that everything was good but I could read between the lines that it wasn’t,” remembers the Cork woman.
There wasn’t a word or a trace from Wray until she cashed a check in France last August.
“There has been no paper trail since August,” said Meehan.
Meehan, unable to sit idly by anymore, enlisted the help of County Cork-born, New York-based private investigator Olwyn Triggs.
According to Triggs’ investigation, Wray contacted her real estate agent in September and told her she was traveling to Switzerland and staying at a beautiful place.
“The post mark on the Fed Ex envelope that arrived in New York with the apartment keys matched this statement,” said Triggs, who is on the case pro bono.
Tragic death of Cathy's husband
Wray was married to a handsome stockbroker, Mike Wray, a relation of the famous actress Martha Wray. They had a beautiful apartment in downtown Manhattan, and although they had no children, they were blissfully happy for the 10 years of their marriage.
However, eight years into their marriage, Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died two years later in December 2001. Wray, who nursed her husband for two years before he passed away, never got over his death.
“When Mike passed away Cathy found it very difficult to cope. She was heartbroken and couldn’t deal with his death,” recalls Meehan. “She just was not herself ever since.”
Trying to bring some normality back into her life after her husband’s death, Wray took over his seat in the New York stock exchange – a seat he held for 25 years – but his death was too much for her. She had to give up his seat after some time.
Up until her disappearance, Meehan said she saw her daughter quite frequently and spoke to her nearly on a daily basis on the phone.
“We were worried about her you know, we were always trying to get her to move on from Mike’s death. Then she would get angry with us because we were not backing her,” Meehan said sadly.
Wray’s state of mind was becoming more fragile as time went on.
“She seemed to get a touch of a breakdown and she thought everyone was talking about her. I guess she was paranoid,” said Meehan.
A healing trip to Ireland
In an effort to help her daughter heal after Mike’s death, Meehan and her other daughter Mary took Wray to Ireland.
“We were trying to cheer her up, you know. We went for three weeks and toured around and stayed in Kerry for 10 days. She really did love it and loved going back to where her father was from.”
Meehan has also contacted a missing persons organization in Ireland for help, but they have come up with nothing either.
Wray’s luxurious apartment in Hanover Square, downtown Manhattan, was sold at auction last week for a mere $349,000. According to Meehan it is worth three times that.
“She wasn’t making any payments so the bank took it over and put it up for auction. It’s so sad and it’s a beautiful apartment,” said Meehan, who with the help of her family cleaned out most of her daughters belongings.
Since her daughter’s sudden disappearance, Meehan said every thought imaginable has gone through her mind.
“Where is she, is she in trouble, is she even alive?” are just some of the questions the Cork mother asks herself on a daily basis.
“We know one thing is for sure, Cathy was never in trouble with the law so she wasn’t running away from anything or anyone,” said Meehan.
Unfortunately police told Meehan they cannot list her daughter as a missing person because she bought the ticket to Geneva. In their eyes she left willingly.
Out of her character
“Just disappearing like this is out of her character. It’s very strange to just walk away and leave everything behind. It just all doesn’t make sense to me,” Meehan said.
Meehan said she was hesitant to go public with her daughter’s disappearance because she didn’t want to embarrass her, but after a year of silence, worry and anxiety has taken over. She will do anything at this stage just to hear some news on her daughter’s whereabouts.
“Someone somewhere had to have seen her, even if it was in a church, a store anywhere. She is a beautiful girl and people will remember her face,” said Meehan.
“Our hearts are broken and we are just out of our minds with worry. We are trying to just find out where she is. The not knowing is certainly the hardest part of it all,” she said.
Meehan pleads with her daughter to put her family’s minds at ease by letting them know she is alive and well.
“I would just love her to contact the house to let us know if she is okay, where she is and if she needs our help. We are always there for her,” said Meehan.
Plea for involvement of authorities
Private investigator Triggs said at this stage of the game it is essential for Interpol and the United States Embassy to get involved in locating Wray.
“We have very solid reason to believe that Cathy was not of sound mind when she flew to Geneva. If the embassy will provide her current passport number, our colleagues at PJIS Group in Belgium who have also worked tirelessly on this case pro bono will have a much better chance of locating her,” Triggs told the Irish Voice newspaper.
Triggs said that although paper trails have gone cold, she has reason to believe that Wray may have rented a car in Austria in January under a different name. “However, we cannot confirm this without her passport number,” she said.
If anyone has any information about Cathy Meehan Wray’s whereabouts or has seen or heard from her in the past year please contact Olwyn Triggs at 516-674-4900 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.