On June 30, 2014 a German national went on a holiday that he never returned from. Not only that, but he has never been seen since.
This is the story of Lars Mittank. A fit, healthy, clear-headed 28-year-old who over the course of just two days in Bulgaria seemed to grow incredibly paranoid before disappearing from the face of the Earth.
Although adults tragically disappear on a worryingly regular basis, Lars’ disappearance is made more eerie by his completely erratic behaviour in the hours leading up to his vanishing. Behaviour which was totally alien to Lars’ persona prior to those few days.
July 8 was the last time Lars was ever seen and the entire thing was captured on CCTV in Varna Airport. The eerie footage shows Lars sprinting out of the airport and climbing over an eight foot barbed wire fence into a sunflower field.
But just what caused Lars to seemingly lose his mind in mere days? For that we need to delve into the days leading up to his disappearance.
Let us go back to June 30 when Lars and five of his friends landed in Varna, Bulgaria, for a lads holiday. Varna is advertised as a cheaper alternative to many party islands.
Lars and his friends stayed in an all inclusive hotel in Golden Sands, where most of the action in Varna is at, and they spent their days drinking and watching the football as the holiday coincided with the 2014 World Cup.
However things got peculiar just a few days into their trip when Lars and his friends, Werder Bremen fans, bumped into a handful of Bayern Munich fans, and they ended up arguing over football.
Nothing too strange here. That sort of thing happens almost every night. But later in the night, Lars and his friends went to a nearby takeaway to get food. Lars decided to sit and wait on a bench outside but when his friends came out just minutes later, Lars was gone.
They had a look around the nearby area but came to the conclusion that he must have gone back to the hotel alone – however when they reached their rooms they found that he wasn’t there.
Eventually Lars’ friends went to sleep and when they awoke, Lars was back at the hotel but was suffering from minor injuries which he claimed had occurred when he was attacked by men who had been paid by the Bayern Munich fans they had argued with earlier on.
Although the injuries were somewhat minor, Lars still required medical attention. He and his friends were scheduled to travel home that day, and though his friends insisted that they would stay with Lars until he was okay, he told them that he was absolutely fine and would stay for an extra few days in Varna alone.
As Lars’ friends left for the airport, Lars himself headed to a nearby doctors where he was told he had a perforated eardrum which required surgery. Lars refused the surgery as he didn’t want to undergo an operation in a foreign country and would wait until he got home.
He did, however, accept a prescription of Cefuroxime 500, a standard antibiotic with no serious side effects aside from the average nausea, coughing and sore joints, etc.
He then went on the lookout for nearby accommodation and found a so-called ‘family hotel’ called the Hotel Color. However many claim the hotel is situated in a dangerous area rife with black market goings on. It has also been claimed that the hotel is a front for a brothel.
Here, things begin to get strange and Lars first appears paranoid. Just before midnight Lars rang his mother and claimed he was scared when checking in and felt very uneasy. He also told her to cancel his credit card and claimed he had to leave the hotel.
Staff at the hotel later confirmed that in the middle of the night Lars left with all of his luggage.
Hours later Lars called his mother again and this time he whispered to her that he was being followed by four men but that he had found a place to hide above them.
Lars then sprinted out onto a nearby street where he chased a cab and frantically hailed it down. A passenger was already in the cab although the passenger agreed to let Lars in as they were both travelling to the airport.
In further investigations police interviewed the passenger and the taxi driver who both claimed Lars’ pupils were ‘fully dilated’. Out of fear or from drug use is not confirmed.
At some point over the next few hours Lars again contacted his mother, sending her a text message asking ‘what is CFC500?’ – referring to the antibiotics.
When Lars got to the airport he appeared frantic and scared – most of this was caught on the airport’s CCTV. He then spoke with his mother yet again, and she told him she had booked him a flight back home but insisted he see a doctor at the airport before boarding the flight. Lars agreed.
After some time Lars made one final call to his mother and claimed he was still being pursued by the mysterious men. He then went to the airport doctor where he was examined. The doctor described Lars as being emotionally drained.
It is reported that at some point during the check-up, an airport construction worker dressed in security clothes, knocked on the doctor’s door and came in to talk about using the doctor’s office for some work.
Terrified, Lars sprinted out of the room leaving behind his luggage, mobile phone, and passport. This is all captured on CCTV.
Lars then ran outside of the airport and began looking for a way out. Eventually he ran towards an eight foot fence and climbed over it, despite it being topped with barbed wire. He then sprinted into a sunflower field and into a woodland area.
That is the last time Lars Mittank was ever saw. Despite huge police investigations and search parties, Lars has never been found – alive or dead.
There are countless theories about his erratic behaviour. Some believe the doctors who saw him wanted to kill Lars in order to sell his organs on the black market. After all, he was an incredibly healthy young male.
Other theories claim that the men after him were the same paid thugs by the Bayern Munich fans from the earlier altercation – although this seems incredibly excessive for an argument over football.
One plausible theory stems from the idea that Lars received an undetected head wound, effecting his brain and thinking, when he got into a fight a few nights previous.
A truck driver nearby claims that he picked Lars up as a hitchhiker later that day, although the driver’s claims are unverified.
Whatever it was, something terrified Lars Mittank into this erratic behaviour. He had no history of mental health, no paranoia, no schizophrenia, his behaviour from July 7 onwards was completely unknown to Lars and to all those who knew him.
What do you think happened to Lars Mittank?
So far he remains a missing person and a 40,000 euro reward is still active for any information leading to his finding.
For more information visit the Find Lars Mittank Facebook page here.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.