Over the years, a handful of missing people cases have managed to captivate the world. The Madeleine McCann case was recently thrown back into the spotlight, thanks to a potential connection with Hillary Clinton’s friend John Podesta. The mysterious disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa seems to pop up in the news once or twice a year. In America, we had Caylee Anthony, Nicholas Barclay and countless others. On March the 18th of 1977, Ireland became the backdrop of its own missing person’s case. At just 6-years-old, Mary Boyle would become Ireland’s youngest missing person. Nearly 40 years later, the case remains unsolved.
As the case has continued to age, the mystery has ultimately deepened. A recently released documentary from investigative journalist, Gemma O’Doherty, has once again reignited interest in the case, while simultaneously pointing fingers at one of Ireland’s untouchables. O’Doherty rose to prominence, thanks to her efforts investigating the 1985 death of Fr. Niall Molloy. Her efforts singlehandedly led to a reopening of the case. And of course, she suggested there had been a “cover up of staggering proportions”. This closely parallels the implications of her new documentary, Mary Boyle: The Untold Story.
The Mary Boyle Disappearance
While Mary Boyle’s disappearance made big headlines in Ireland and Europe in general, I hade never heard about it. Perhaps I was simply born too far away or too late? Nonetheless, the case was new to me, but I was lucky enough to stumble across the documentary on YouTube late one night. Mary Boyle disappeared during a visit to her grandparents’ house in Cashelard, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. The day was March 18, 1977. Mary had visited her grandparents with her parents and siblings. Mary’s twin sister, Ann, and her brother, Patrick, had decided to head to the lawn at the side of the house to play with two of their cousins.
In an uncharacteristic move, Mary opted to remain inside and away from her twin sister. The two were normally inseparable. Mary promised to join the group after helping her mother with the dishes. At approximately 3:30pm, the 6-year-old followed her uncle, Gerry, to a neighbor’s house. Gerry made the trip to return a ladder. It was unknown why Mary decided to follow in suit, but it would be one of the last decisions she would make. The 500 meter trek was deemed to be nearly impossible for the child. It required the young girl to climb over rock walls and other hazards. Nonetheless, she eventually encountered her uncle and told him she was returning home.
Gerry was ultimately the last person to see young Mary. Due to Gerry’s unfortunate position and his failure to mention spotting Mary earlier, he quickly become a suspect in the disappearance. Over the next few weeks, extensive searches were conducted in the nearby area. At times, thousands of people were involved. Bodies of water were searched and forests were combed. Nonetheless, nothing of interest was found.
Eventually, a relative of the family and renowned Irish singer, Margo O’Donnell, got involved. While Gerry remained a suspect, the police’s pursuit led to nothing. However, it did lead to the discovery and manufacture of several new suspects. In 2014, a 64-year-old man was arrested by detectives. It was revealed that the man had a troubled past and worked in the area, during the time Boyle went missing. Nonetheless, the man, who is interviewed in the documentary, was eventually released and the case of Mary Boyle’s disappearance remained the longest running unsolved missing persons case in Ireland.
Scottish serial killer, Robert Black, also became a suspect, after it was revealed he had worked in the area during the time Mary went missing. While Black was believed to be in County Donegal during this time, Black was never officially linked to her disappearance. It was yet another dead end. And finally, Mary Boyle: The Untold Story unveils yet another potential suspect. Unfortunately, the suspect’s name is never revealed. The documentary dissects the potential cover up involving the local police, the suspect, and a local politician.
The Cover Up
Mary Boyle: The Untold Story speaks with two officers, who were responsible for overseeing the investigation into Boyle’s death. One of the men was in charge and spoke directly with family members and key suspects in the case. He explains that another suspect was interviewed, but the inquiry into the man was dropped after a call came down from a higher up. His allegation is supported by his colleague. During this time, Mary’s sister and Margo have continued to lobby for a new investigation into the case. Mary’s mother has flipped and flopped, as carefully explored in the film.
At times, she is adamant she would like to learn the truth. Other times, she ridicules her daughter’s behavior and pleads with her to stop the endless hunt. And finally, a few politicians have agreed to get involved. As the documentary suggests, it is one of their own that put a halt to the investigation. One brave MP built up the courage to speak out about the possible cover up in parliament. It is specifically revealed that the politician accused of initiating the cover up is still in office.
Online sleuths and others have accused Sean McEniff of being the politician involved. McEniff was forced to deny the accusations in July of 2016. To date, nothing has come of the allegations. According to the Justice for Mary Boyle Facebook page, the family is adamant they know who killed Mary. They also claim the family and authorities know, yet are protecting this individual. The family also discusses the suspect’s violent past. Unfortunately, they’ve been unable to release the individual’s name, due to the ongoing proceedings.
Mary Boyle: The Untold Story Review
At the end of the day, Mary Boyle: The Untold Story is chillingly good. It concocts a story and pounds it home from beginning to end. And of course, that story is one that many people will latch onto with full strength. Should the former detectives be right in their assumptions that their suspect was let off the hook, Gemma O’Doherty will have created a masterpiece and should be applauded for her work. While I personally believe the detectives, what if they were wrong? What if their assumptions were incorrect?
The truth will likely never be uncovered, until this potential suspect is named and cleared or charged. Other suspects were investigated thoroughly. Was this guy really let off of the hook? What was his motive? Was he a deviant child molester? If so, has he acted on his urges again? Sadly, the suspect’s name has yet to be formally released and that is a problem in and of itself. The media, politicians, authorities past and present all refuse to make mention of this individual’s name.
This further supports the cover up of the potential murder and further prolongs justice. Sadly, those with higher up support rarely face justice. And those that do only do so when they’re near the end of their rope anyway. All in all, Mary Boyle: The Untold Story is great and examines the potential cover up related to the case. Nonetheless, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The documentary opened the door for the detectives to rethink their initial assessments and fully investigate the new suspect.
Will they ever do so? In the media, Mary Boyle: The Untold Story may be given the “Pizza Gate” treatment and this is a shame. It is the media’s responsibility to dig into these stories when the authorities refuse to do so. This is why O’Doherty should be applauded for her efforts. The documentary is conducted in a manner that leads to conclusions, without making them clear. This was probably a clever strategic decision to avoid potential litigation. The document deserves an 8.5 out of 10.