INTO THIN AIR

Man goes miss­ing on Malta and dis­ap­pear­ing woman baf­fles West York­shire Po­lice...

Fortean Times - - Strange Days -

A year ago, the last time Phyl­lis Ste­wart saw her hus­band Tom, he was climb­ing up an or­ange tree and clam­ber­ing over the 8ft (2.4m) high wall of a Mal­tese hos­pi­tal. He had no money, phone, pass­port or med­i­ca­tion for his type-two di­a­betes. Since then, there have been only a cou­ple of pos­si­ble sight­ings of him on the tiny is­land – de­spite the fact that, at 6ft 5in (196cm), he would stand out in any crowd. The 60-year-old had vol­un­tar­ily en­tered Mount Carmel Hos­pi­tal, which deals with men­tal health, on 21 May 2016, un­der the ad­vice of a doc­tor, but aban­doned it two days later. “He kept ask­ing to go for a walk in the hos­pi­tal’s gar­den,” said Phyl­lis, 69. “Then he turned to me and said, ‘This isn’t help­ing me. I can’t be here’.” Mo­ments later, de­spite her pleas, he was over the wall and gone. The Mal­tese po­lice’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his where­abouts is still on­go­ing and one of the of­fi­cers in­volved has de­scribed it as one of the force’s most “mys­te­ri­ous” cases. “I think he’s con­fused,” said Phyl­lis. “He worked with a lot of Bul­gar­ian peo­ple at a ware­house in Lu­ton and got on well with them. There’s a big com­mu­nity of them here and I think he might be with them.”

The cou­ple had been to­gether for 26 years and mar­ried for the past 10. They came to Malta for the first time on hon­ey­moon in 2000 and re­tired there 18 months ago. Phyl­lis said there were no mar­i­tal dif­fi­cul­ties and that, while Tom was un­der stress at the time of his dis­ap­pear­ance, he was not sui­ci­dal. “We’ve put up posters in lots of places. I’ve been on the tele­vi­sion and in the news­pa­pers and set up a Face­book page,” she said. “I’ve spo­ken to walk­ing groups and asked that they keep an eye out for him. I’m of­fer­ing a re­ward of 1,000 eu­ros to any­one who can find him.”

When peo­ple take their own lives in Malta, their bod­ies are usu­ally dis­cov­ered, not least be­cause there are few de­serted ar­eas on the is­land, which is less than 17 miles (27km) long and only nine miles (14km) wide, with a pop­u­la­tion of 420,000 – al­though those num­bers swell con­sid­er­ably dur­ing the tourist sea­son. The two other is­lands in the Mal­tese ar­chi­pel­ago, Gozo and Comino, are even smaller, and the bod­ies of those who drown are usu­ally re­turned to shore by the sea.

There were two pos­si­ble sight­ings of Tom in the first few days af­ter his dis­ap­pear­ance. One of the cou­ple’s neigh­bours says he spoke to Tom at a bus stop and a mem­ber of the pub­lic claims he spot­ted him in a su­per­mar­ket. But there has been noth­ing since then. BBC News, 23 May 2017.

Svit­lana Kras­nosel­ska, orig­i­nally from Ukraine, was last seen near her home in the vil­lage of Mick­le­field, near Leeds, at 5am on 3 April. She has lived in the UK for 12 years, and is mar­ried with a grownup daugh­ter. West York­shire Po­lice said her bank ac­counts had not been touched and it was com­pletely out of char­ac­ter for the 40-year-old mother to go miss­ing. Spe­cial­ist search teams with dogs and moun­tain res­cue of­fi­cers searched a quar­ter­mile ra­dius around her home – in­clud­ing in a land­fill site, dis­used quarry and cave sys­tems – but found no use­ful leads. “It’s re­ally un­usual for peo­ple to van­ish with­out a trace,” said Det Supt Lisa Atkin­son, five weeks af­ter the dis­ap­pear­ance. BBC News, 8 May 2017.

“It’s re­ally un­usual for peo­ple to van­ish with­out a trace”

LEFT: Tom Ste­wart went miss­ing in Malta over a year ago and has not been seen since. ABOVE: Svit­lana Kras­nosel­ska van­ished with­out trace in April 2017.

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