Body found in missing Irish fan search

Body found in missing Irish fan search

Published Jun. 20, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Polish authorities believe a body found floating in a canal is that of an Irish soccer fan after documents in his name were discovered on the corpse.

The 21-year-old James Nolan disappeared early Sunday in the northern city of Bydgoszcz, sparking a huge search effort. Police divers found a body early Wednesday and authorities are awaiting Nolan's father to arrive later to formally identify it.

Prosecutor Wlodzimierz Marszalkowski says the soaked documents were Nolan's insurance and credit card.

A spokesman for prosecutors, Jan Bednarek, told The Associated Press that ''there is a high probability that this is the body of the man we have been searching for.''


The body was discovered in the waters of a channel flowing through the city of Bydgoszcz, where Nolan, of Blessington, County Wicklow, disappeared early Sunday.

Nolan was in Poland for the European Championship. He had been traveling with friends in a rented camper van, but was also registered at a hotel on the city's outskirts. He was last seen visiting local bars after watching televised games in a fan zone Saturday night.

A time-stamped photo on a friend's phone is the last trace authorities have of Nolan, police said. The image shows him with his friends at 2 a.m. Sunday, but everything after that is a mystery, one compounded by the blurry memory of friends who had been drinking.

More than 100 police officers have been searching for Nolan, and photos of the Irishman have been plastered around the city.

Nolan's phone has been out of service since around the time he was last photographed. After his friends woke up Sunday morning, they tried calling Nolan in his hotel room and only then realized he had never returned there.

They then returned to the riverside bars where they had been the night before to look for him, but about 15 hours lapsed before they reported him missing.

Nolan had left his passport at the hotel and only had about 300 zlotys ($90) on him, police said. A credit card he was carrying has not been used since his disappearance.

In Ireland, Nolan's parents said they had expected a call from their son Sunday because it was Father's Day, but it never came.

A Twitter campaign aimed at finding Nolan, who studies environment engineering at Tallaght Institute of Technology in Dublin, was launched in Ireland with the hashtags FindJames and JamesNolan.