Texan doesn’t rule out return to scene of heartbreak

The picture provided to Bill Bussa by the person he met on the Internet claiming to be 22-year-old Shannon Maguire from Lurgan.
The picture provided to Bill Bussa by the person he met on the Internet claiming to be 22-year-old Shannon Maguire from Lurgan.

A decade on from his nightmare ordeal in Lurgan Bill Bussa says he may come back to Northern Ireland.

He spoke to ‘MAIL’ reporter Graeme Cousins online, with the pair chatting for the first time since 2005 when they met in the Ashburn, Bill’s home over Christmas and the New Year.

Graeme provided Bill with a copy of the original story to jog his memories of the events which led to the Texan making the front page of the Lurgan Mail.

Here’s what he had to say:

“It brings back so many memories both good and bad. There was even more that happened I forgot about.”

Bill, now 55, confirmed he was still single and still living in Dallas. He added: “I don’t believe there’s such a thing as love, but I don’t give up.

“I will never understand women. The past 10 years I meet them, ask them out, they say I’d love to go out, I get their number or add them on Facebook then when it’s time to go out, I get stood up or there’s always a excuse.

“Bet I have 500 phone numbers laying around here.

“A date to me, I believe is a fruit.”

At the time of his visit Bill told how his mother and sister were very sick but she urged him to make the trip. Sadly they’ve both since passed away.

He said: “My mom passed in 2005 like 20 days after I got back.

“My sister’s cancer finally got the best of her. She passed four years ago.

“I really miss her she was my sister and best friend. For five years I took care of her.”

Bill, who works in home improvement, told how he spends his days: “I pretty much just work. I still sell my own jobs, do my own work, keep all the money.”

Of the visit to Lurgan he reminisced: “I never regret any of the trip. It was one of the most enjoyable trips I ever had.

“I still have a couple of friends that found me on the Internet after your article that live in Lurgan.”

He continued: “The first night I went out when I got back from the trip I ran into a friend and she’s wearing a shirt that says Ireland. How ironic is that?”

When asked if he’d ever return he said: “Yes, I’d love to go back.

“My bucket list is to be there for a St Paddy’s Day.

“I have a couple good friends that live here from Wexford if you know where that’s at. And of course I couldn’t come over without going back to the ‘burn as I’ve been told it’s called over there.

“The staff (at the Ashburn) were great to me and made me feel at home.”

Now 10 years on, Bill gave his theory on Shannon Maguire.

Bill came to Lurgan to meet Shannon and her mother Madonna, but in the end he only got speaking to two girls claiming to be Shannon’s cousins - Alexandra and Cathy.

He said: “I believe the cousin that showed up and actually met me at the ‘burn was actually her. And the one that called me New Year’s Eve that was going to meet me and tell me the whole story was really her cousin that pretended to be her mom.

“That girl that found me that lives in Lurgan after your story kind of knows who she is. She’s ran into her at the doctors office in Lurgan a couple times. She’s told me she’s had to hold back asking her about me.”

He added: “Have you ever seen the movie or show over here called Catfish? They stole my idea.

“I’ve actually talked to people when I got back about making a movie about my trip.”

Bill’s trip to Lurgan was immortalised in song by local band Captain Kennedy.

When asked what he thought of Bill Bussa Blues, Bill said: “I talked to a guy in the band. I loved it. I felt honoured.”

Bill asked to give a ‘shout out’ to Stacey Leigh Hill. He said: “She’s my friend in Lurgan that found me after your article I still remember her like it’s yesterday, telling me her and her mom read your article and cried. Guess it touched a lot of people.”

Aside from his pursuit of Mrs Right, Bill is a big college basketball fan and Syracuse supporter.

He said: “Basketball and football are a close tie to my favourite but I love all sport except soccer. It bores me. I try to watch it, especially the World Cup this year because the pub I hang out at is owned by a British woman and was voted the best bar in the USA by the travel channel to watch soccer.”

He finished with a message to the people of Lurgan: “I’ve got nothing but thanks for the kindness and hospitality I was given while I was there. Shame Shannon wasn’t one of them. I don’t remember any of their names but my last night there, there were like five girls that took care of me and bought all my drinks.

“I would love to thank them. And a kid from the library that ran after me and offered me his lunch. Finally, do you know any women that would like to come to Dallas?”