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On The Trail Of The Missing Manic - Daily Mail, 10th March 1997

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Title: On The Trail Of The Missing Manic
Publication: Daily Mail
Date: Monday 10th March 1997
Writer: Nick Hopkins


Is Richey hiding in hippy retreat?

"Richey Edwards? He joined us and played guitar. We don't get too many foreigners playing with us, which is why I remember him."

The speaker is Manuel, owner of the Casablanca beach bar in the remote fishing village of Arambol in Goa.

We are on the trail of Richey Edwards former guitarist with the award-winning band Manic Street Preachers, who has been missing presumed dead for two years after abandoning his car at a notorious suicide spot near the Severn Bridge.

Hopes that he is still alive were fuelled two weeks ago by university lecturer Viv Morris, who said he had spotted Edwards in the Indian Ocean resort. popular since the Sixties with hippies and drop-outs. Interpol has now joined the hunt.

Manuel thinks he came across Edwards in October last year, a month before Mr Morris believes he saw him at a flea market in Anjuna. northern Goa.

"We have jamming sessions in here for the local musicians" said Manuel. "I couldn't stake my life on it, but it was someone who looked very much like him."

Until a few weeks ago the trail to Edwards had been cold. Now, with Interpol involved, the Goan police have been checking their records for any trace of him, so far unsuccessfully.

But inquiries in Anjuna, thronged by hippies, travellers and holidaymakers, uncovered snippets or information which are either tantalising clues to Edwards's whereabouts or a set of cruel coincidences which will prolong the agony for his parents Graham and Sherry, who believe he is still alive.

Many in Anjuna and villages further afield think they have seen Edwards. Dr Jawahorlal Hendricks. who runs a surgery in Anjuna, treated a man called Richey Edwards two months ago.

"I remembered the name because I teased him about it." said Dr Hendricks. "I asked him whether his mother had named him after Lionel Ritchie. He was English and had a serious lung infection. He never came back for a second appointment. so I hope he is okay."

A photograph of Edwards shown to the doctor, however, meant nothing to him. Edwards has distinctive tattoos, but Dr Hendricks does not remember seeing any. At Anjuna's busy market where thousands converge to buy jewellery and cheap clothes, a dreadlocked British New Age traveller called Kerry instantly recognised Edwards from the photograph.

"I'm Sure that's him, but he said his name was Steve," she said.

Some taxi drivers thought they had seen Edwards hanging out with some Israeli hippies last year.

The signals coming from Anjuna are inconclusive and confusing. but if Edwards wanted to disappear then Goa would be perfect. It is cheap, largely unspoiled and relaxed.

And the police in Goa seem to be in no particular rush to leave the capital Panjim to investigate the claimed sighting of Edwards.

For one thing the officers, who work only a four-day week do not have enough cars to send an investigator up the coast at the moment.

For another, they have checked their records and are sure that nobody called Richard Edwards has been granted a visa to enter India in the last few years.

Some Of them do not believe that Edwards is in Goa at all. If the British police really believed he was alive, argued one officer, they would have come out themselves to find him.

If Edwards is in Goa, he must have forged a passport and have come under an assumed name.

Yesterday inspector Cruz d'Souza, who is in charge of the investigation, said: "I do not believe that it is possible for him to come to Goa and for us not to know about him. It is the law that even the smallest, guest house must register anyone who stays and take down their passport number."

"I do not believe that he is here. There is still no proper indication that he has been here, apart from the one witness in England."

At home in Blackwood. South Wales, Edwards's mother said: "We're hoping it is true. We've never stopped hoping."