Family of missing student describe 'living nightmare' as search for answers continues a year on

Catrin Maguire's parents described their anguish at still not having answers "to those questions that were asked a year ago". Credit: Media Wales/Family photo

The parents of a student who went missing in November 2021 said they will "never give up looking for her", a year on from her disappearance.

Catrin Maguire was 22 when she went missing on Monday, November 15. She had been due to meet a friend in Bangor to sign for a flat tenancy but never turned up for the meeting.

Instead, the third-year Bangor University student bought a return ticket to Holyhead, on Anglesey where her family live, and was last reportedly seen just after 1pm near the RSPB South Stack Cafe.

Her parents Gerry and Wendy described their daughter as "very caring" with a "spot-on" moral compass and someone who "hated to see wrong done to anyone". Gerry added that she had no known mental health issues.

Catrin was last seen in Holyhead and was pictured on a doorbell camera walking opposite Holyhead High School on South Stack Road. Credit: Media Wales/Family photo

Shortly before her disappearance, Catrin had told her family of her excitement about plans for the future. She was intending to enroll on a master's course and take a gap year to travel.

Gerry and Wendy described the last conversation they had with their daughter, six days before she went missing, as "totally positive".

They said: "She was enjoying her new flat, she was up to date with her university coursework, had chosen her second term subjects, and was enjoying the course and having a great time.

"She congratulated her brother on passing his driving test that day and said that no way was he allowed to use her car."

Catrin was close to her family and younger brother Ciaran, and the family would catch-up with eachother every Tuesday evening. They recalled the chilling moment they knew something was wrong when they did not hear from Catrin.

"On Tuesday November 16, 2021, instead of having our dedicated weekly chat with Catrin, at 7:30pm the phone rang and it wasn’t Catrin," the student's parents explained.

"It was her flatmate asking if Catrin was with us as she hadn’t seen Catrin for a couple of days and Catrin had failed to turn up for a pre-arranged signing for a new tenancy agreement.

"Alarm bells rang instantly as this is not normal behaviour for Catrin and we just knew something was wrong."

Gerry, 51, who runs a removals business, said it took more than six months for him and Wendy to get back to work.

Since November 2021 the pair have searched tirelessly, distributed flyers and posters and spoken to students at Bangor University to try and find answers.

"Each day since Catrin was reported missing has made day-to-day life extremely difficult for her family," they said.

"The emotional toll is ongoing. Twelve months later and we still do not have any answers to those questions that were asked a year ago."They added: "Her cat misses her and will scratch on her bedroom door to curl up with her teddy bears on the bed.

"We have some really good friends and family that have been with us throughout the past year supporting us during a living nightmare. Not knowing where Catrin is, who she may be with, is heartbreaking."

Catrin was in her third year at Bangor University, studying health and social care, when she went missing. Credit: Media Wales/Family photo

Catrin was not on social media and Gerry described her as a "very private person" who would hide when a camera came out but "once you got to know her she would open up".

Gerry said: "She wanted to experience student life but she wasn't quite getting that because it was slap bang in the middle of Covid. She was a bit back and forth from Bangor to Holyhead because of lockdown, but she was enjoying university life as much as she could."

He added: "Catrin's course tutor said she was quiet and kept herself to herself but she was up to date with her assignments. She had passed her first two years. I'd spoken to her GP and the only medical issue she had was asthma. No flags had been raised."

On the Saturday before she went missing, Catrin had been at a friend's house for a movie night.

"It was Catrin and three friends. I believe they had a few beers and pizza," Gerry said.

The friends who joined Catrin that night are the last people known to have talked to her.

Catrin and one of her friends were then due to finalise the paperwork for their new flat at 3pm on the Monday, but Catrin did not arrive at the company's office.

Her friend assumed she had gone home to her family but it became clear she was missing when the friend contacted Catrin's mum and dad the following day.

Gerry immediately called North Wales Police, who found that Catrin had bought a return train ticket from Bangor to Holyhead on the Monday morning.

Catrin's parents are still searching for answers and urge anyone with information that could help, can contact North Wales Police. Credit: Media Wales/Family photo

Gerry and Wendy were able to identify their daughter on Holyhead station's CCTV, which showed she had been there at around 11:30am. A Ring doorbell camera then caught her walking opposite Holyhead High School on South Stack Road, wearing a black duffel coat and a light-coloured handbag.

The last reported sighting of Catrin came at 1:18pm outside the cafe of the RSPB nature reserve. A shepherd sitting in a parked van said they saw her walk past the cafe, up the hill and towards the car park.

Catrin is around 5ft 5ins tall with a slim build. Her parents, who have vowed never to give up on their search, are urging anyone with information to call North Wales Police on 101 quoting reference Z167766.

They thanked the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Môn-SAR search and rescue team, and "the community of Holyhead and beyond" who have helped in the search.