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Remains of Dublin man found buried in French city nine years after disappearance

Shortly before Paul Shine-Dixon went missing in France, he told his partner he had witnessed a shooting.

Gardaí broke the news to Paul's family on 6 July.
Gardaí broke the news to Paul's family on 6 July.
Image: File photo

THE REMAINS OF an Irishman who went missing nine years ago have been found buried near a canal in the French city of Perpignan.

Paul Shine-Dixon from Finglas in Dublin was travelling through Europe when he disappeared in 2009. He was on his way to meet his partner in Barcelona, but got off his train in the southern French city instead. 

He called his partner and told her he had witnessed a shooting on the train. The 28-year-old father-of-three was found by police in a distressed state later that day and taken to a medical centre for treatment. 

The next day, 3 May, he discharged himself. His family never heard from him again.

Just over three weeks ago, the family was told that remains recently discovered buried beside a canal in Perpignan had been identified as Paul’s. Local police are currently treating his death as suspicious but examination of the remains will determine the direction of the investigation. 

Retired garda Tosh Lavery, who works with the families of missing persons to highlight their cases, told TheJournal.ie that he is glad the Dixon family can finally bring the young man home.

“But I never use that word ‘closure’ because it’s just a different kind of ambiguity for them now,” he explained.

Their worst fear was that he was dead and you’re always waiting for them to come home, thinking even that there’s a small chance. Now it’s wondering what happened to him in his last moments.

He said it could take some time for the remains to be released to the man’s family as police work to confirm his cause of death and the circumstances surrounding it.

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Gardaí provided assistance to French authorities using the State’s DNA database, which was launched in 2015. The database, which is managed by Forensic Science Ireland for An Garda Síochána now has DNA profiles for more than 150 missing persons cases.

Gardaí broke the news of the positive identification to Paul’s family on 6 July. Officers from the Missing Persons Bureau are now liaising with investigators in Perpignan.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance.

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