Kieran A. Murphy

Kieran, circa 2001

  • Missing Since 12/15/2001
  • Missing From San Francisco, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 08/09/1943 (80)
  • Age 58 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'11, 190 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) 1980 39-foot fiberglass auxiliary sailboat named Sola III with dark blue and gray circular emblems on both sides
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Gray hair, brown eyes. Kieran may have a mustache, beard or a goatee. He is a native of Ireland.

Details of Disappearance

Kieran resided in San Francisco, California in 2001. He and his wife, Ornaith, were in the process of divorcing late in the year. They had moved together from the United States to Ireland in the late 1960s.

Kieran is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and a mathematician in the employ of the city and county of San Francisco, calculating death risks for the retirement system. He was last seen on December 15, 2001. Kieran has never been heard from again. His loved ones became concerned when he failed to report to work on December 17 and they filed a missing person's report with San Francisco authorities.

Ornaith was last seen in Oakland on December 16, the day after her estranged husband's disappearance. She owned a 1980 39-foot fiberglass auxiliary sailboat named Sola III. The vessel has dark blue circular emblems with one gray swirl painted on both of her sides. Ornaith normally berthed the boat at the Oakland Marina in the Jack London Square area of the city.

The vessel disappeared on the same day as Ornaith; it has never been located. The boat was captured on a video surveillance camera pulling out of the Oakland Marina at 8:36 p.m. on December 15. It had about one week's worth of food on it when it disappeared, and no safety or foul weather gear. It had about one week's worth of food on it when it disappeared, but no safety or foul weather gear, and it was not outfitted for a long-distance sail.

Kieran and Ornaith planned to meet on the day of his disappearance to discuss legal issues. Ornaith was seen working on her boat that day. A man fitting Kieran's description was seen near the boat on the evening of his disappearance, but it was never established that the man was in fact Kieran.

Witnesses reported hearing loud banging sounds coming from near the Sola III the evening he disappeared. The witnesses could not be sure that the sounds were gunshots, however. The next day, December 16, Ornaith called her niece from the Sola III. She said she was in a marina in Berkeley. Ornaith's niece invited her to breakfast, but Ornaith declined the invitation. She has never been seen or heard from again.

Ornaith and Kieran are described as a witty, intelligent couple who enjoy reading classic literature. They amassed a small fortune through real estate speculation and have two sons together. Their marriage crumbled after Kieran had an extra-marital affair.

Kieran was living in an apartment in the Nob Hill area of San Francisco when he disappeared; Ornaith resided with her niece near Jack London Square in Oakland, near her boat. Both were the defendants of a lawsuit at the time of their disappearance; one of the buildings they owned had caught fire and a child had been badly burned.

Ornaith's family reported her as a missing person from Oakland. The estranged couple may be traveling together aboard the vessel. Another theory is that Ornaith shot Kieran and died by suicide shortly afterwards. There has been no evidence to support this, however, beyond the noises heard by witnesses.

Kieran was supposed to vacation in Mexico shortly after he disappeared. His and Ornaith's sons say it would be uncharacteristic of them to leave without warning. Although Ornaith is an experienced sailor who was the reportedly the first person from San Francisco to sail alone around Cape Horn in Africa, Kieran did not know how to sail it, and being on the water made him seasick.

The United States Coast Guard has been involved in the search for Kieran and Ornaith, but no evidence has been discovered. Neither of the couple's credit cards or bank accounts have been used since their disappearances. Their cases remain unsolved, but their disappearances are considered suspicious.

Some agencies may list December 14, 2001 as the date of Kieran's disappearance.

Investigating Agency

  • San Francisco Police Department
  • 415-553-0123
  • 415-553-1071
  • 415-558-5508

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