Missing Manic Street Preachers rock star Richey Edwards still alive, new book proposes

Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers.
Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers. Photo credit: Getty

A rock star who disappeared 25 years ago and was later presumed dead may in fact be alive and living in Israel, a new book claims.

Richey James Edwards was the guitarist and primary lyricist for Welsh band Manic Street Preachers until he vanished on the eve of a tour of the US on February 1, 1995.

For years his bandmates, family and friends held out hope he'd show up alive, but despite unconfirmed sightings of the troubled star, Edwards was declared officially dead in 2008.

But a new book, written with the cooperation of Edwards' sister Rachel, access to his diaries and writings, and containing new interviews with those close to him, suggests he may have planned his disappearance.

"It was very interesting to uncover these things which add credence to the disappearance theory," Withdrawn Traces: Searching for the Truth About Richey Manic author Sara Hawys told Wales Online.

They include evidence to suggest Edwards had Asperger's, a form of autism which often leads to people shutting out the world.

"[We] started thinking about all the things the band had said about him being robotic, android-like, and we put two and two together," said Hawys.

"We read books about Asperger's and a lot of the traits clicked with Richey. It's something that Rachel acknowledged that Richey might well have had - something that wouldn’t have been diagnosed back in the '90s."

The Manic Street Preachers in 1992.
The Manic Street Preachers in 1992. Photo credit: Getty

Another clue is a book Edwards left behind for his sister, written by an author who handed the manuscript over before disappearing without trace.

And much of the evidence points to Edwards fleeing to Israel, which he had spoken of in the weeks leading up to his disappearance, including a tattoo the guitarist had just received.

The book also looks into other theories - the official story that he committed suicide, and the possibility he was murdered or even paid a hitman to do it.

Police told Wales Online in a statement that despite Edwards being officially dead, they still have him listed as a missing person.

"The case remains open and we welcome any information the public have to support with our enquiries."

Following Edwards' disappearance, his bandmates regrouped as a three-piece and went on to become one of the UK's most successful acts of the 1990s. They're still together today, releasing their 13th album Resistance Is Futile last year.