15th March 2010

Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia

British national newspapers reported the disappearance of Guernsey student Jonny Dorey on 15 March 2010. He’d gone missing two weeks earlier from his dorm at Virginia Commonwealth University, which he was attending as part of an exchange programme. He had been studying geography at the University of West England at the time of the exchange.

Friends at the American university reported him missing on 4th March, two days after he had last been seen.

Keen mountain biker

His parents travelled to Virginia to help with the search, which was focused on popular biking routes. The Telegraph quoted his friend, Bob Beebe, who had known Dorey his whole life and described him as “a prolific mountain biker and all-round lovely guy”.

According to The Guardian, “he last used his mobile phone… from Belle Isle, a rural area close to the campus popular with mountain bikers and walkers. Despite two extensive searches in the area, police are no further forward in tracing him or his bike.”

Clues by the river

Several of his belongings were discovered on the banks of the James River by a member of public on 24 March. By that point he’d been missing for more than three weeks, but it gave police some direction. Over the next two days they used boats from the local fire department to search along the river’s north bank.

They found a body, but upon examination it proved to be that of a 77-year-old man.

The following month, a witness came forward to say that they had seen a man fitting Jonny’s description swimming in the river on the day he had gone missing.

A reward of $5,000 was posted for information that could help in locating him. It was later doubled, but Jonny was never found. A service was held in his memory on 4 September the same year.


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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st