An Australian man, who went missing for 16 years, has finally been found by his family sleeping rough in the West Midlands.
The Independent reports, Jason Ronald Douglas, an Australian of aboriginal descent, is believed to be in the Walsall area and is though to have been homeless for over a decade.
Douglas had been living in the UK with his uncle, Timothy Elwin Andrews, who was ‘like a father to him’, while the rest of his family remained in Australia. Unfortunately Mr Andrews died of a heart attack during a football game in 1999.
The last time Mr Douglas’ relatives saw him face to face was in 1999 at his uncle’s funeral.
After his uncle’s death Mr Douglas remained in the UK, living with various friends however his family lost contact with him in 2000, and it was believed that he had been badly affected the loss of his beloved uncle.
Unfortunately as his relatives lived in Australia they were unable to file a missing persons report in the UK and instead had to work with police in Australia, with little success.
The family continued to contact police in the UK and eventually found out that he had been arrested in the West Midlands. Officers then arranged for Mr Douglas to be able to speak to them.
His sister Sally spoke of her brother’s joy at the long overdue reunion.
He was crying at first but then happy….We spoke about a lot of things. Our childhood memories, and our lives now.
He told me about the hard life that he has had since being there and how long it took to get any assistance financially, which resulted in him being homeless for such a long time.
He told me that the first ten years of him being there, he was homeless and living on the street as his passport and any ID he had was stolen, so he couldn’t get any benefits to survive.
She finished by explaining he turned to petty crime like shop-lifting to eat and begging for money.
Ms Douglas has praised the ‘wonderful’ police who helped reconnect her with her brother. His family are now raising money to pay for accommodation for Mr Douglas and flights to bring him home.