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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 24 April, 2018

Mother of missing Irish man in India still 'determined' to find him two years on

A new theory has emerged that the missing journalist may have been attacked by a wild animal, as the route he went missing on has recently been closed off because of sightings.


(Image: Find Jonathan Spollen/Facebook)

ON 3 FEBRUARY, two years ago, Jonathon Spollen, a journalist from Ranelagh in Dublin, spoke to his mother for the last time.

The 28-year-old was travelling in the Rishikesh area of northern India and was due to leave the country by 21 February, when his visa expired. However he has not been seen or heard from since that last phone conversation, when he said he was setting off on a trek, on his own.

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of his disappearance and his mother Lynda Spollen told that she is “determined as ever to find out what happened to him”.

“It’s kind of devastating, it’s a lot harder to remain hopeful but I have to find out what happened to him,” she said.

When it’s your child, your son, just nothing’s impossible, you keep going. I don’t know what it is, I don’t think I could do it for anybody else, I wouldn’t be as strong for myself. It’s absolutely my worst – every parent’s worst nightmare.

There has been speculation that the writer may have decided to go off the grid on some kind of spiritual quest, as all of his belongings were found next to a small waterfall in the area a month after he went missing.


(Image: Find Jonathan Spollen/Facebook)

However his mother, who has always been very close to her son, said there is no evidence of that.

“It didn’t fit anything that Jonathan had said to me,” she explained.

Spollen said that her son would be unlikely to overstay his visa because he was a journalist and it would put his returning to the country at risk in the future. There were also plans for a friend of his who had had a bad accident to stay with him back in Ireland.

Having spoken to numerous psychologists and psychiatrists over the years about the case, she said it also “doesn’t fit the profile”.


(Image: Find Jonathan Spollen/Facebook)

A new theory has emerged in the last few weeks that the Irishman could have been attacked by a wild animal in the area after a recent sighting of a leopard in the town of Rishikesh. The family had asked about this possibility back when Jonathan first went missing but they were told it was not a problem in the area.

Now the routes around the waterfall where the man’s belongings were found have been closed because of wild animals.

However Spollen said there was no sign of any struggle when her son’s backpack, passport and sleeping bag were found, though some things from his wallet were “scattered up the path”.

“I don’t want to believe that’s what happened to him” she said. “I want to believe anything else but I need it to be looked at again.”

It’s getting harder because I never believed for one minute that he would just go off for this length of time and not be in contact unless something dreadful happened to him.

“If he is alive, he’s not in a good situation. I honestly don’t know [if he is alive] but I don’t want him to be alive and in dreadful, dreadful mental or physical pain – I couldn’t bear that for him.”

The missing man’s mother urged anyone who was travelling in India and in the Rishikesh area in February 2012 and who knows anything about his disappearance to get in touch.

“Somebody out there knows something,” she said.

Anyone with information can contact Jonathan Spollen’s family at or through Facebook or Twitter.

Read: Family of Irish man missing in India appeal for help>

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