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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