Gardaí have confirmed that Richard ‘Happy’ Kelly, aged 17, may have met a violent death.
He has been missing since April 23.
He was well known for taking cars to joyride and was due to appear at Rathkeale District Court on July 11 for taking a car from Adare Manor golf club.
His solicitor told the court that the defendant was not in court and there were serious garda concerns for his well being.
Well-placed sources have told the Irish Examiner that the youth may have run foul of a major drugs gang, having stolen a car for a joyride in which they had hidden a large consignment of drugs.
A source said: “He just took the wrong car this time. The gang may have murdered him to ensure he would not talk about what he had found. When the gang discovered the car was missing, they found out quickly that ‘Happy’ was seen driving it. They contacted him on his mobile and arranged to meet him out the Dublin Road to recover the car. He was seen driving a car in the Dublin Road area.”
Richard Kelly has been missing since April 23 when he left his home in Southill at around 9.50pm.
He has been designated a Category A missing person. A garda spokesman said: “It is more serious than the ordinary missing person investigation. We have to keep in mind something could have happened to him.”
Gardaí said he was not involved in drugs. On the night he disappeared he was seen driving a stolen car which was later abandoned near Anacotty.
His distraught mother, Mary, has pleaded for anybody with information to come forward.
She said: “You see this type of thing on the TV you think ‘that is awful what that family are going through’. But you never expect that it could happen your own son. I am living my worst nightmare. I have gone through hell and back and I don’t see any end in sight.”
Ms Kelly said: “Somebody out there must know what happened my son. He cannot have disappeared off the face of the earth. All his stuff is still at home. Whoever knows what happened my son, could they contact the gardaí or me immediately and just say where he is.”
When last seen he was wearing a navy Nike tracksuit with a white stripe on the shoulders and at the ankles. He had Nike white runners.
He has two rings on his right hand as well as a bracelet on his right wrist.
Anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of Richard Kelly is asked to contact Roxboro Garda Station on 061- 214340.