Missing US backpacker pronounced dead after 11 years

Mystery still surrounds the disappearance 11 years ago of a US backpacker who was only yesterday officially pronounced dead at an inquest in Ennis, Co Clare.

New Jersey native, Steven Davaris, 32, vanished while travelling in Co Clare in July 2005.

His body has never been recovered but his passport and mobile phone were found washed up on a west Clare beach on July 12 2005, four days after his arrival in Ireland. The last sighting of Mr Davaris was in a pub in Inagh, Co Clare.

In a deposition at yesterday’s hearing, Mr Davaris’s sister, Ann said that her brother told his parents on July 6 that he would be going down to the Jersey shore.

The Davaris family had no idea that Steven had travelled to Ireland from New York on an Aer Lingus flight arriving into Dublin on July 8. A Clare woman, Josephine Ryan answered his mobile phone in response to a call from the man’s mother, Ann-Marie Davaris on July 14.

Mrs Ryan’s husband, John Joe found Steven’s ruck-sack that had washed up on a beach at Seafield, Quilty, while out walking two days previously.

Mrs Ryan was able to transfer the SIM card from Mr Davaris’s water-damaged phone to her own phone to accept the call. In the aftermath of the Davaris family becoming aware that Steven was last seen in Co Clare, they established a website seeking any information on him.

No member of the Davaris family was present at yesterday’s hearing and the only witnesses present were the Ryans who were praised by gardaí for their actions.

In her deposition, Steven’s mother Ann-Marie Davaris said she believes that Steven “drowned and took his own life at Cliffs of Moher in July 2005”.

Coroner Isobel O’Dea said that the Davaris family contacted gardaí last December seeking that an inquest be held and Ms O’Dea had to secure special permission from the Attorney General’s office and the Minister for Justice for the inquest to be held as no body has been found.

In her deposition, Ann-Marie Davaris said: “I am just looking for some closure at this stage.

Mrs Davaris said: “I appreciate everyone’s help. It has been a really bad time for the family.

“You never really get over it. I didn’t know that Steve was in trouble or feeling depressed or down. He was a good man. He had no gambling or alcohol problems. He was a person who would help anyone.”

Mrs Davaris said that her son loved Ireland and had visited three or four times.

Steve’s sister Ann said that he had lost his job in April 2005 and had no history of depression. She said that he had been withdrawn and moody over the previous six months.

Ms O’Dea said that “I would like to formally pronounce Steven Davaris dead on today’s date. The probable time of death was July 2005. I hope that this gives the family some closure.”


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