A new book has provided fresh evidence to suggest that Manic Street Preachers guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards staged his own disappearance.
The Welsh rocker disappeared in 1995 at the age of 27 and has never been seen since then. He was officially declared “presumed dead” in 2008.
But Withdrawn Traces: Searching for the Truth About Richey Manic offers a series of fresh clues that suggest that the guitarist may have carefully planned his disappearance.
The book by Sara Hawys Roberts and Leon Noakes is the first to be written with the full co-operation of Edwards’ sister Rachel and features unprecedented access to his personal archives.
The new evidence includes previously unreported sightings of Edwards, alongside a long-held fascination with disappearance that he apparently enjoyed since his school days. The book also details an important meeting between Edwards and a woman at Cardiff’s Whitchurch Hospital, who later moved to Israel.
“By coincidence, the link came up again when co-author Leon went for a haircut in Cardiff and started talking about Richey”, WalesOnline reports.
“The lady cutting his hair said ‘he’s actually living in a kibbutz in Israel, everybody knows’,” Sara says. “As you can imagine it took him aback.
“We gave this theory no particular credence until Rachel raised the same idea – yes Richey had been going on about heading to that part of the world just before he vanished.”
Other new strands of evidence include the theory that Edwards may have had undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome and disappeared in a bid to shut out the world as a coping mechanism.
The book will also detail the mystery of a woman called Vivian – who was the last woman to see Edwards before his disappearance.
“She was in the hotel room with Richey the night before he vanished. But we haven’t been able to track her down.
“Apparently the night before Richey was trying to give Vivian his passport saying ‘I won’t be needing this anymore’.”
The book, which is released on January 31, will also detail theories that he may have had to disappear after significant confrontations, and an apparent fascination for reclusive authors such as JD Salinger.
A police spokesman has since confirmed that the investigation into Edwards’ disappearance remains open.
“Richey Edwards is still listed as a missing person”, the Metropolitan Police confirmed to WalesOnline. “The case remains open and we welcome any information the public have to support with our enquiries.”
His sister Rachel Elias has continued to campaign on behalf of missing people in her search for Edwards. Last year, she spoke out to claim that new evidence could hold the truth to his whereabouts.
Edwards went missing from the Embassy Hotel in central London on February 1, 1995. His car was found near the Severn Bridge shortly after.
“We were told that Richard crossed the bridge at 2:55pm,” she said. “And we have the toll booth receipt that says 2:55. So we were led to believe there was an eight hour window between his time of departing the hotel to crossing the Bridge on that same day.
“But it’s since come to light by tracking down the person who made the [bridge’s time recording] machines and making enquiries that that was a 24 hour clock, it always was. So that meant 2:55 was 2:55am.”
She continued: “So we were appealing to people to have seen him at certain times that day when actually those times are meaningless now.
“We are hoping that it will establish a new line of enquiry because this is vital information that changes everything and turns it all on its head and needs to be looked at again.”
Rachel has also been working with with The Missing People’s Choir – who recently entered Britain’s Got Talent.
To donate to the Missing People charity, text HOPE plus your donation amount (i.e. HOPE £10) to 70707, and for more information visit here.