Disappearance of Lars Mittank

Lars Joachim Mittank (born February 9, 1986)[1] is a German man who disappeared on July 8, 2014, near Varna Airport in Varna, Bulgaria. Mittank was vacationing at the Golden Sands resort, where he was supposedly involved in a fight, and was subsequently unable to fly home with his friends for health reasons. Mittank was documented acting strangely while alone in Bulgaria. He called home to his mother claiming that people were trying to kill him. On the day when he was supposed to fly home, Mittank went to the Varna Airport to consult with a doctor. He was later seen on airport security footage running out of the airport and towards an adjacent forest. He has never been seen since. The case has generated intense interest, and the frequency with which people viewed the footage of him fleeing the airport has led to him being named "the most famous missing person on YouTube."[2]

Lars Mittank
Lars Joachim Mittank (2013).jpg
Lars Joachim Mittank in 2013
Born(1986-02-09)February 9, 1986
DisappearedJuly 8, 2014 (aged 28)
Varna, Bulgaria
StatusMissing for 7 years, 11 months and 23 days
NationalityGerman
Known forDisappearing under mysterious circumstances

Background of Lars MittankEdit

Lars Mittank was born on February 9, 1986 in Berlin, Germany.[1] He grew up in Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein, and lived there for his entire life. He worked at a power plant, had friends, and a girlfriend. He visited his parents frequently. After his father suffered a stroke, he often helped at his parents' home after work. He was described as a normal person.[3]

Unusual behaviour and disappearanceEdit

On June 30, 2014, 28-year-old Mittank traveled with five of his friends to Varna, Bulgaria. It was his first journey outside of Germany. The group vacationed at the Golden Sands, a seaside resort just outside of the city of Varna.[4] "The week went by really fast," said Paul Rohmann, one of Mittank’s friends, in 2016 on German television. “We relaxed on the beach, swam in the pool, played football, went clubbing. He was relaxed. He was in a good mood."[3] Another friend, Tim Schuldt, said that Mittank did not eat much, and that he would have only a small bowl of soup or a small salad at a time. His friends reported no additional abnormal behavior by Mittank until the final part of the trip.[3]

On July 6, 2014, the day before they were supposed to return home, Mittank and friends were at a bar in town, and Mittank got into a disagreement with some other German nationals over football. Mittank, a fan of the football club Werder Bremen, had differences with fans of Bayern Munich.[3] He then parted from his friends outside a restaurant after leaving the bar, and disappeared for the rest of the night. Mittank turned up at the resort the following morning and told his friends he was beaten up by four men hired by the group in the bar whom he disagreed with the night before. The fight resulted in Mittank suffering an injured jaw and a ruptured ear drum.[5] He went and saw a doctor who advised him not to fly due to his injury,[4] and prescribed the antibiotic Cefprozil (500 mg). Mittank's friends wanted to stay with him, but he insisted he was fine on his own, and told them to follow the original travel plan and fly home on July 7, which they did.[3]

Mittank checked out of the resort the same time as his friends, and checked into the Hotel Color Varna for one night. The hotel was cheap and close to the airport. However, a day after his friends left, he began to act paranoid. While at the hotel, Mittank called his mother, Sandra Mittank. In a whisper, he told her that people were trying to kill or rob him and that she should cancel his credit cards. The closed-circuit television security cameras in the hotel recorded him pacing up and down the halls, looking out windows, and hiding in an elevator. At 1 A.M., he left the hotel before returning about an hour later. It is not known what he did in the intervening period. In the morning, he once again called his mother, telling her that the people pursuing him were getting closer.[3]

Mittank was last seen at Varna Airport on July 8, 2014, the day he was hoping to fly home to Germany. He texted his mother that he had arrived at the airport. He went to consult with the airport doctor, Dr. Kosta Kostov. Kostov would later describe his behavior as "nervous and erratic." According to Kostov, he told Mittank that he was fine and could return home. However, Mittank did not leave his office, expressing doubt about the medication that he was taking. At that time, a construction worker entered the office. The airport was undergoing renovation at the time. Kostov said that Mittank then began to tremble. He yelled, "I don't want to die here. I have to get out of here." He then got up and fled the office. He left behind all of his luggage, which included his wallet, cell phone, and passport. He was captured by airport security cameras fleeing the terminal. Once outside, he can be seen on the footage jogging away from the airport, climbing a fence, running into a meadow, and sprinting off camera in the direction of an adjacent forest near Bulgarian national highway A2. These are his last confirmed whereabouts.[2][3][5]

Speculation and subsequent developmentsEdit

There is no definitive agreement among experts and family members as to the causes of Mittank's behaviour and to what extent his paranoia was rooted in reality. His mother said that he had no history of mental illness.[3] However, a possible mental breakdown caused by an undiagnosed mental illness has been discussed as an explanation for his conduct.[2] Mittank's mother, alongside Bulgarian and German doctors, have suspected that Mittank's unusual behaviour was the result of a rare side effect from the antibiotic that he was prescribed, Cefprozil.[6] It is a cephalosporin,[7] which have been known to induce psychotic side effects, including hallucinations and paranoia.[8][9] However, according to Kostov, Mittank had not been taking his medication. "He didn't take those antibiotics. He didn't even fill out his prescription,” Kostov said. "So his behavior couldn't have been a result of that. I can't think of a single reason why he left my office in such a panic. I'm still confused."[3]

It is also unknown what happened to Mittank after he fled the airport. With the police unable to determine Lars Mittank's fate, Sandra Mittank hired a private investigator, Andreas Gütig. He checked hospital records for patients without identification, but found nothing. Mittank had experience in hunting, fishing, and trapping, but there is skepticism about whether he would have been able to survive for long outdoors due to intense heat in the summers and lack of food.[3] His mother has expressed belief that he is still alive, possibly having lost his memory.[4][10] About a year after his disappearance, a truck driver thought he saw him hitchhiking in Varna. There have been multiple reported sightings of him in several other countries, but none have been confirmed.[3][10] In 2019, a German truck driver gave a hitchhiker a ride from Dresden to Schildow in Oberhavel, Brandenburg. The driver became aware of the Mittank case later, and said that the man with him resembled an older version of Mittank. The driver said that the man had long hair and a beard. He said that his eyes seemed tired and his cheekbones were prominent.[10]

Mittank has been described as "the most famous missing person on YouTube." By May 2018, less than four years after his disappearance, the security footage of him in the airport had been viewed more than 16 million times. The mysterious nature of the case has led to frequent discussions and the growth of numerous theories. The case remains unsolved.[2]

Mittank is listed as 180 centimetres (5 ft 11 in) tall with dark blond hair. He has a scar on his left forearm.[1]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "German Police Is Looking For A German Citizen". BKA Germany. Retrieved 9 December 2020
  2. ^ a b c d Taylor, Joshua (May 11, 2018). "Chilling mystery of the 'most famous missing person on YouTube' who vanished into forest never to be seen again". Mirror. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Pepi, Kirk (2018-04-23). "The Mystery of the Most Famous Missing Person on YouTube". MEL Magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  4. ^ a b c O'Neill, Marnie (2016-05-30). "People are mysteriously vanishing from airports". news.com.au. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  5. ^ a b Heise, Thomas (2014-08-31). "Verschwunden in Bulgarien: Auf der Suche nach Lars Mittank". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  6. ^ "Vermisst nach Antibiotikum-Einnahme" [Missing after taking antibiotics]. apotheke adhoc. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  7. ^ Wiseman, L.R; Benfield, P. (February 1993). "Cefprozil. A review of its antibacterial activity, pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic potential". Drugs. 45 (2): 295–317. doi:10.2165/00003495-199345020-00008. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  8. ^ Essali, Norah; Miller, Brian. J. (December 2020). "Psychosis as an adverse effect of antibiotics". Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health. 9: 100148. doi:10.1016/j.bbih.2020.100148. PMC 8474525. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  9. ^ McDonald, C. Ann.; Addis, Steven (October 2003). "Cephalosporin-induced psychosis". Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 37 (5): 627–628. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1614.2003.01243.x. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Immanuel, Marcus (July 19, 2020). "Germany: New Hope in Lost Son Case". The Berlin Spectator. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  11. ^ Walker, Emily (15 March 2010). "Interpol hunt for missing lover of Sussex's black widow". The Argus. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  12. ^ De Luca, Ruben (2 September 2021). "25: La donna serial killer". Serial killer (in Italian). Italy: Newton Compton. p. 390. ISBN 8822752945.