Family worry something 'darker' has happened to London Irish pensioner John Joyce missing in Fatima

Family worry something 'darker' has happened to London Irish pensioner John Joyce missing in Fatima

THE FAMILY of missing John Joyce have said they are worried something 'darker' has happened to the London Irish pensioner, eight weeks on from his disappearance. 

Mr Joyce, 72 - whose parents hail from Co. Mayo - travelled with a small London church group on July 11 on a six-day pilgrimage to the Portuguese site.

But just three days into the pilgrimage, Mr Joyce was last seen on the morning of July 14 shortly before 11am from outside the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary after watching a video on the Children of Fatima.

Mr Joyce had left his passport, money, mobile, reading glasses, and hat in his hotel room, and his family believe he was not intending to go far before returning to the hotel for lunch at 1pm.

Almost eight weeks on from his disappearance, his family have said they 'are very, very worried and shocked.'

Mr Joyce was last seen almost 8 weeks ago.

Mr Joyce's sister Cathie Joyce said: "If he had collapsed, fallen or been taken ill in town he would have been seen and cared for, Fatima was full of pilgrims and visitors that day.

"If he had strolled out of town and been taken ill or fallen he would have been found by now.

"The Fatima police have done extensive searching of roadsides and verges and nearby woods and found nothing," Ms Joyce said.

While the Joyce family have said it is unlikely Mr Joyce has been taken out of Portugal as he doesn't have his passport, they said they have been forced to contemplate 'darker scenarios.'

His sister Cathie has said: "Has John either beguile into accepting a car ride or taken by force somewhere else? Is he now being held against his will by a group or cult for some other purpose, like organ removal?"

The Joyce family have appealed to anyone going to Fatima to be on the lookout for John Joyce.

Ms Joyce said: "He could be anywhere in Portugal. He is missing a lower denture, and may now have a beard and may have different clothes on and be very unkempt looking and dirty.

"If he has lost his memory he may be living on the streets. Wherever he is, he is likely to be very lost looking and confused."

The family are also appealing to anyone who was in Fatima when Mr Joyce disappeared, and may have captured his photo accidentally, to identify where and when the photo was taken to report it to police.

The poster for John Joyce circulated by his family.

"This July has sadly been very different to July last year for John," his sister said.

"In July 2016 John took a holiday in Ireland.  After staying few days in Knock, he spent some time visiting with his cousins and aunt in and around Tourmackeady, Lough Mask and Cornamona, where our parents came from.

"On his last day there, Reek Sunday, he attempted the climb of Croagh Patrick.  He managed to get two thirds of the way up before the Mountain Rescue team suggested he forgo the final ascent.

"He was pleased he managed to get that far as he knew he had put on a few pounds and become less fit.  He really enjoyed his holiday and was planning a return visit next year in 2018."

If you have any information on the whereabouts of John Joyce contact Hotel Essence Inn Marianos on 00 351 249 531 572 (if English speaker) or Fatima Police on 00 353 249 530 580 (if Portuguese speaker).