After a number of searches and public calls failed to locate the Lithuanian man, the trail turned cold until a whistleblower in June this year led police into a wood. in Wisbech, where they found him alive in hiding on July 1, detectives said on Monday.
Police suspect Ricardas fled in September 2015 after being exploited, and deliberately hid in a forest and cut off contact with others.
He was “very well hidden” when he was found alive in an undergrowth and had gone through “extremely difficult circumstances,” said Chief Inspector Rob Hall, of the Major Crimes Unit. Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
DCI Hall said: “For almost five years, Ricardas’ disappearance has been a complete mystery. That was until we received information at the end of June that led us to locate him.
In August 2015, it was suggested to police that Ricardas was being exploited and had moved to Wisbech.
He worked for Nightlayer Leek Company at Dean Drove, Chatteris, through an agency.
He worked on Saturday September 26, 2015 – the last confirmed and corroborated sighting of him alive and well – and that night he was reportedly with a small number of Lithuanian men.
But he was not seen again and he did not show up for his shift the following Monday.
DCI Hall said: “There were real concerns that Ricardas came to hurt that night. He did not return to work on Monday September 28, 2015 as planned, but we now believe that Ricardas made the decision to run away because he had been the victim of a crime, having previously been the victim of exploitation.
“A team of investigators have worked tirelessly to follow up a number of investigations, none of which resulted in the discovery of Ricardas. That was until we received information that Ricardas may be alive and still in the Wisbech area.
“Following a search in a wooded area of Harecroft Road, Ricardas was eventually found alive in an undergrowth, very well hidden after deliberately hiding and not speaking to anyone for some time.
“We made the decision not to publicly announce that we had found Ricardas alive until now in order to protect him and put in place safeguard measures.
“He’s safe and we are working closely with him to make sure he stays safe, but also to make sure he gets the support he needs after going through extremely difficult circumstances over the past five years.” years or more. ”
The police have opened an investigation into the potential exploitation of the Ricardas. Fenland detectives are pursuing a number of leads.
Mirror Online has reached out to Nightlayer Leek Company for comment.