Remains found during search for missing Irish man on Jacksonville’s Northside, police say

Family again flies in from Ireland to help search for father of 2 John McNamee, who disappeared in May

Apparent human remains were found during a search Saturday for a missing father of two in a wooded area of Jacksonville’s Northside, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Apparent human remains were found during a search Saturday for a missing father of two in a wooded area of Jacksonville’s Northside, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

The search for John McNamee, who was last seen in May, was organized by family, who invited JSO’s Missing Persons Unit to the search area in a section of woods off Airport Road, police said. During the private search, police said, pieces of clothing and what appeared to be human remains were found. By the end of the search, according to JSO, investigators were only able to locate partial remains.

As of Saturday night, according to JSO, the remains had not been identified. Police said the remains were sent to the medical examiner’s office for further examination and identification.

JSO’s Homicide and Crime Scene units responded to the scene to investigate. Crime scene unit investigators were at the scene for hours and walked what looked like red plastic bags into the woods and then back to the van.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the case is being investigated as undetermined death at this time.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office marked vehicles are seen at the site of a search for a missing man Saturday. (WJXT)

McNamee was last seen on May 25 at a Love’s Travel Stop on Pecan Park Road. His truck, a gray Ford F-150, was found in the grassy area near the tree line behind the Quality Inn Airport hotel on Airport Road at 11 a.m. the next morning. He was not a guest at the hotel.

His family has been trying to piece together anything that might have happened in the 20-hour gap from when he was seen on surveillance video at the gas station to when his truck was found the next morning.

“I just plead to anyone that has any information on that timeframe to please come forward,” said McNamee’s uncle, also named John McNamee. “Hopefully we can come to some sort of conclusion in this.”

John McNamee missing flyer (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX - All rights reserved.)

Dozens of volunteers combed through the woods as K-9s sniffed for clues and a boat was on standby to search small bodies of water. McNamee’s uncle and sister were overwhelmed by the turnout of searchers -- mostly strangers -- who came out to help on Saturday.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we cannot thank them enough,” he said. “I know there are a lot of people in the same boat as ourselves. They also have people missing. My heart goes out to them as well.”

Faith Souter, who was part of a group from Set Free Church in Nassau County that joined in the search, said she was one of those.

“I have a history with a missing person family member. My heart kind of went out to the family. I would have wanted that support,” Souter said.

Volunteer searchers scour the woods for any sign of John McNamee, who has been missing since May. (WJXT)

Ahead of Saturday’s large-scale search, the missing man’s family -- even from as far as Ireland -- came together Friday near the airport on Jacksonville’s Northside where he was last seen in May.

“It is not easy, but you get that drive every time that you’re going to find them,” his uncle said.

McNamee’s uncle and his sister, Caroline Doran, were among those who flew in from Ireland for the search.

“He just loves the girls. Has love for us family, and mother and father,” Doran said. “We just want to find John. We need to get him.”

John McNamee, the uncle of a missing Jacksonville man, addresses the crowd of volunteers who have come out to help search for him. (WJXT)

The uncle said bloodhounds were sniffing for a trail in a wooded area for hours.

McNamee’s brother-in-law and a family friend told News4JAX on Saturday that he never had a flight booked out of Jacksonville and his family was never expecting him to travel anywhere. They said investigators also confirmed with them they did not find a flight booked in McNamee’s name, despite his truck being found at a hotel near the airport.

At the beginning of June, McNamee’s relatives from Ireland also traveled to Jacksonville to help in the search.

“He has two kids here, which he loves very much,” his uncle said. “And I think the two kids need him very much.”

Doran said his family is just desperate for answers.

“This isn’t about blaming anyone. Something has happened, and we just want John,” she said. “We don’t want anything else.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact JSO by calling 904-630-0500 or emailing JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).

Volunteer searchers scour the woods for any sign of John McNamee, who has been missing since May. (WJXT)

Correction:

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the missing man had missed a flight out of Jacksonville and also incorrectly identified the gas station where he was last seen.

Clarification:

A previous version of this story reported information from sources that something had been found.


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