Missing developer was an infrequent visitor to his native town
AS mystery continues to surround the circumstances of the reappearance of international property developer Kevin Michael McGeever, locals in his native Swinford are as perplexed as anyone about what happened.
Mr McGeever (68) was found on a roadside in Co Leitrim last week suffering from malnutrition and dehydration and claiming to have been held by a kidnapping gang for eight months, yet no missing persons appeal was ever made. It is believed he lost five stone during his ordeal and is still being treated in Mullingar General Hospital.
It is expected he will be released at some stage this week when garda detectives are likely to quiz him as they attempt to fill in the gaps in the bizarre story.
Mr McGeever has told relatives that he was abducted from his mansion in Craughwell, Co Galway by three armed and masked men last May. A family source said he told them he was held in a shipping container for eight months.
His daily diet consisted of water and a single ham sandwich. He said he was dumped on the roadside in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim where local woman Catherine Vallely and her partner Pat Rehill found him barefoot, in a confused state and with a plastic sheet wrapped around him. They brought him to the local garda station.
Many people in Swinford contacted by The Mayo News were reluctant to comment publicly on the matter but one local man who knows the family admitted the story was ‘the talk of the town’.
“People are very surprised. No one knew he was even missing. It is the talk of the town here locally, especially with the bizarre nature of it. It’s not adding up and people are very curious to see what new information emerges,” said the local, who did not want to be named.
The most surprising aspect for people in Swinford seems to be that locals did not even know he was missing.
“I haven’t seen him locally in a very long time and he wouldn’t be in Swinford that often at all. You would think it would have been very apparent he was missing but seemingly not,” said a local man.
No missing-person appeal had been issued, although his partner did report him missing last May but did not want the story to go public.
Gardaí are reportedly investigating information that Mr McGeever sent three text messages to his partner, Siobhán O’Callaghan, shortly after his disappearance. They were sent on mobile networks in the UK and Germany.
He told family that his captors demanded a €10 million ransom. He also says he was regularly beaten during the eight months he was held and that his fingers and a wrist were broken.
Speaking last week, Ms Vallely described how Mr McGeever looked when found.
“He had a pair of enormous eyes in a very thin face. He was rubbing his beard with fingers that had long nails. He was well educated, well spoken and polite. He was skin and bones,” she said.
In Ballinamore Garda Station, gardaí gave him tea and biscuits and Mr McGeever requested curry chips. He was subsequently brought to Mullingar General Hospital.
Mr McGeever followed his late father into the construction industry as a young man and McGeevers were one of the biggest builders in Mayo years ago. His brothers John, Brendan and Pat and sister Maureen all live in Mayo.
While he is pictured here at a New Year’s Ball in Breaffy House Hotel in 2004, he was an infrequent visitor to his native Meelick.
He became an international property developer with interests in Dubai and built a mansion in Craughwell, Co Galway at a cost of €3 million in the last decade.