Driver thought 'missing developer' was a cone on the road

Kevin McGeever with partner
Kevin McGeever with partner

The woman who found missing property developer Kevin Michael McGeever said he was so thin and bearded that he reminded her of a member of an Indian caste.

Mr McGeever, 68, was found at 10pm on Tuesday on a road on the Leitrim-Cavan border. He was reported missing by his partner, Siobhán O’Callaghan, eight months ago.

The woman who found him, Catherine Vallely, said she was on her way home to Ballinamore from a writing class in Enniskillen with her partner Peter Rehill when, through the darkness, they spotted someone walking in the middle of the road.

Ms Vallely, 64, said: “There was this person in the middle of the road who had a flashing light. He had red trousers that made me think it was a cone, at first, in the middle of the road. There are hippy campers and a Buddhist centre in Ballinamore and I sometimes pick them up and give them a lift.

“This man asked us to ring directory inquiries and get a number for his friend. I can’t remember the name he gave us for his friend but in any case directory inquiries didn’t have a number.

“Then he contacted some other friend and I spoke to him and he mentioned that they would meet in an hotel. I thought, there’s no way an hotel would let this man inside their door, so I suggested to the friend that we could drive to the Tesco car park in Carrick-on-Shannon and we could meet there. I don’t know where the friend was but I was able to tell him where Carrick-on-Shannon was.

“We never got there as we stopped at the Garda station in Ballinamore on the way. When the man got into our car he told us he had no shoes on. I said he could have been killed in the middle of the road and he said three men threw him out of a van.

“I was surprised. I thought he might have Alzheimer’s or something like that. The man said his name was Kevin and he didn’t realise he was in Co Leitrim. He didn’t even know the month, the day or the time.

“In Ballinamore a garda came out and she was excellent. She immediately invited him in for a cup of tea. As he was having tea and biscuits, he asked her if she had any more. He said he hadn’t eaten for God knows how long.

“He had a pair of enormous eyes in a very thin face and his cheekbones stuck out. He was rubbing his beard with fingers that had long nails. He was very well-educated, well-spoken, and polite and articulate.”

Ms Vallely said she offered to go for chips and Mr McGeever said he would only eat them with curry. Gardaí checked his details and discovered he was the Kevin Michael McGeever who had been missing for eight months.

Ms Vallely said: “We were told he used to be 16-and-a-half stone. He was just skin and bones now.”

She said the man didn’t specifically say how long he had been held; just that he had been in a van and three people had thrown him out because of mistaken identity. He carried a black plastic sheet, something like a bin bag and he wore a cap, so she couldn’t say if anything was written on his forehead.

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