A Lithuanian man who became the subject of a murder investigation in Britain has been found alive after he went missing almost five years ago.
Ricardas Puisys — who was last seen on September 15, 2015 working his shift at a food production company in Chatteris, England — was discovered living in a heavily wooded area approximately 17 miles away from his workplace.
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The Cambridgeshire Constabulary said on Monday that Puisys was found on July 1 near the town of Wisbech, but authorities did not go public with his whereabouts until now “to protect him and put safeguarding measures in place.”
Puisys was residing in a dense undergrowth and had been “very well concealed” after “having not spoken with anyone for some time,” according to police.
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“For almost five years Ricardas’ disappearance has been a complete mystery. That was until we received information at the end of June which led us to finding him,” Detective Chief Inspector Rob Hall of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said in a statement.
“He is safe and we are working very closely with him to ensure he remains safe, but also to ensure he gets the support he needs after having lived through extremely difficult circumstances during the last five or more years.”
Authorities said initial concerns for Puisys’ safety were raised a month before his disappearance “when it was suggested to police he was being exploited and had moved addresses within Wisbech.”
At the time, Puisys was working at the Nightlayer Leek Company in Chatteris through an agency. Puisys was believed to be in the company of small group of Lithuanian men after he was last seen reporting to work, according to police.
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“There were genuine concerns Ricardas came to harm that evening. He did not return to work on Monday, 28 September, 2015 as expected, but we now believe Ricardas made the decision to run away as he had been a victim of crime, having previously been subject to exploitation,” Hall said in a statement on Monday.
A murder investigation was launched in November 2015 several weeks after Puisys’ disappearance.
Last year, the investigation was relaunched after a Facebook account that was set up in Puisys’ name surfaced and photographs of the man police believed to be the missing person were posted, according to authorities.
The Cambridgeshire Constabulary announced in December that they received information about potential sightings of Puisys near Wisbech.
Authorities have now launched an investigation into potential exploitation of Puisys, according to police. A team of detectives in Fenland are currently working their way through a number of inquiries.