Matthew Mullaney is a twenty-three year old college student from Massachusetts who had taken a leave of absence from Fairfield University in Connecticut, USA and was to attend The Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy for one semester.
Matthew arrived in Florence on January 11, 2003 and began school on the 13th.
Between that date and January 31st there were regular communications between Matt and his family and friends (phone calls and e-mails). There was no indication that anything was amiss during those conversations, though he had complained to his roommate during the last week he was having trouble sleeping.
On January 31st Matt left his apartment in Florence to go to The Lions Fountain Irish pub by himself. Its a local pub where a lot of American students tend to go. His roommate did not notice anything unusual in his behavior before he left. He would frequently check in with her to let her know where he was going.
At 2:30 am on February 1st, Matt was last seen talking to a group of young people outside the door of the pub as he was leaving. It is not known whether they were American students as well. According to the staff, his behavior at the pub was not unusual that night.
Matt never returned to his apartment that morning. There has been no contact to family or friends of Matthew since that evening. He has not used his credit card, bank card or AT&T calling card since. His passport was left behind at his apartment. He had his wallet with him which would also contain his Massachusetts drivers license and a health insurance card with his name on it.
Within four days of his disappearance a missing person report was filed with the Florence Police. The U.S. State Department was also notified immediately. Subsequently Interpol, the Dutch Police, the FBI and the police in Dublin have been contacted on his disappearance. All Western European American Consulate offices have also been notified.
There have been various, unconfirmed sightings of Matthew around Florence, the latest some six months ago now.
His father/family have been to Italy (2X), Amsterdam (2X), Dublin (where he had indicated a desire to visit earlier), and London in search of Matt and have contacted all the local authorities in those areas.
During the second week of April, a 24 year-old Dutch National noticed a poster of Matt which had been placed by his father near the Centraal Station in Amsterdam. The young man went to the American Consulate office to report that he had been on a 3-hour train ride from Dover to London, England on April 5th with a young man he believed to be Matt. The young man reviewed a video tape of Matt which was left at the consulate and confirmed it was the young man he had traveled with. Matts father and mother had two subsequent conversations with the Dutch National and are quite sure that the young man on the train was their son based upon the details of the conversation and the Dutch Nationals confirmation of his identity.
During the train ride Matthew stated he would be spending some time in London before heading to Ireland, most likely Dublin. His intention, according to this young man, was to try and find work there.
Matthews father, Michael, visited Dublin (May 9th to May 14th) where he contacted all the necessary authorities to inform them of the situation. The general consensus was that Matt had not arrived in Dublin yet.
According to the Dutch National Matt took this young mans cell phone number and may have tried to contact him the week of April 28th. The missed call was from England. The Dutch National attempted to retrieve the number but was unsuccessful. Matt did not have a cell phone of his own with him.
A sighting was reported on July 23rd by an Irish woman on the ferry/bus from Holyhead to Dublinport. She reported (to the Irish Garda) that Matthew was on the bus with her and became quite agitated/nervous when it was announced that there would be an imigration check upon departing the ferry/bus. She saw a poster of him in the Dublin Busarus immediately upon departing the bus. She was put in touch with the American Consulate but our family was not notified of the sighting until September. She subsequently viewed a videotape and requested additional photos (three) that she used to confirm the sighting. The sighting is being treated as authentic. According to her, she was certain that it was Matthew she had seen on the bus.
The next sighting was reported on January 3rd, 2004 in Galway by a group of three Scotsmen. They had a three minute conversation with a young man they believed to be Matthew when he asked for directions to a hostel. They saw his poster within hours of speaking to him. We are still waiting for more possible information regarding this sighting.
According to the Consulate office these witnesses are not willing to speak any further to the Garda or anyone in the family.
On January 31, 2004 a retired couple visiting the Westport area were approached by a young American male who asked that they take his photo. After returning home they noticed an article written in the Irish Sun news about Matthew and saw his photo. They called the consulate to report they believed it to be Matt. We sent additional photos and video. After viewing they confirmed it was Matthew. Their words were Unless he has an American twin walking around in Ireland, it was him.
The latest sighting took place in Maynooth, Ireland on April 26, 2004. A bartender at the Leinster Arms Pub saw who she thought was Matt speaking with two women. She noticed the young man had an American accent although she did not speak with him directly. Additional photos have since been shown to her and she still feels it could have been Matt.