A man believed to have been murdered five years ago has been found hiding in a wood.
Ricardas Puisys, 35, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, in central England, disappeared in September 2015 without a trace with officers launching a major search for him as well as opening a murder investigation, leading to the arrest of one man who was later released.
Following his disappearance, officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, made a number of appeals for members of the public to come forward with information, without any luck.
Officers said Puisys had moved to Wisbech a number of years before he went missing.
He was described as a casual land worker around Wisbech and someone who lived from hand to mouth. He had no vehicle and no close family in the U.K.
However, police were given fresh hope in their search for him after a number of selfies of Puisys were uploaded to a Facebook account in November 2019.
Detective Chief Inspector Adam Gallop, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said the discovery of a Facebook account under his name had been an “extraordinary twist” in the case.
The account used Puisys’ name and had 69 friends, including members of his family but officers were unable to verify if he was still alive.
A number of attempts were made to contact him, all of which proved unsuccessful.
He said: “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.”
He said Puisys had been found living in undergrowth in a wooded area and had deliberately hidden himself.
Chief Inspector Hall said: “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.
“A team of investigators worked tirelessly following up a number of inquiries, none leading to the discovery of Ricardas. That was until we received information that Ricardas may have been alive and still in the Wisbech area.
“Following a search of wooded area in Harecroft Road, Ricardas was eventually found living in undergrowth, very well concealed after having deliberately hidden and having not spoken with anyone for some time.
“We made the decision not to publicly announce we had found Ricardas alive until now in order to protect him and put safeguarding measures in place.
“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.”