At the time, 35-year-old Ricardas Puisi was last seen alive at work in September 2015 and an investigation into the murder was launched two months later, last year after Cambridgeshire Police said he was still alive after a mystery Facebook account surfaced Could stay.
The friends were stunned when detectives announced on Monday that Richards had been found alive last month.
After several searches and public appeals that failed to locate the Lithuanian man in 2015, the trail went cold until tip-off in June of this year led police to a woodland in Wisbech, where they He was found to be hiding on 1 July.
Police suspect that Rickards fled after being a victim of exploitation in September 2015, and deliberately hid himself in a woodland and cut off contact with others.
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The 40-year-old Ricardes was “very well hidden” in March, when he was living in the underground and going through “extremely difficult conditions”, said Detective Chief Inspector Rob Hall, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and From Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit.
The area in which he was found is not remote – it is close to homes, businesses and playgrounds, and not far from the city center.
DCI Hall stated: “The disappearance of records has been an absolute mystery for almost five years. Until we received the information at the end of June, which prompted us to search for him. “
Friend Jonas Kesroukkus, who is from Silute, is the only village in Lithuania where Ricardas grew up, and now lives in Visbech, saying that it seems that Ricardas was dead.
She told Mirror Online that she had last seen the records several years earlier and was happy to hear that her friend was still alive.
Jonas said: “I don’t know where he has been until now. This is the first time I heard that they are looking for him.
“People think he died.” I am glad that she is alive because I know her family and she is a good person.
“This is very good news. Her sister was very sad.”
In August 2015, it was suggested to the police that Ricardes was being exploited and forced to transfer addresses within Wisbech against his will. Police have said that it is possible that he was a victim of modern slavery.
The casual farm worker was working at the Knightlayer Leak Company in Chatteris, through an agency. He was living by mouth, spoke little English, had few friends and no relatives in Britain.
He worked on Saturday 26 September 2015 – the last confirmed and confirmed to see him alive and well – and that night he was treated to a small group of Lithuanian men.
But she was not seen again and did not show up for her shift the following Monday.
His identity card was found in a park in November 2015, the month the investigation into the murder began, and there was nothing to suggest that he had traveled to Lithuania.
DCI Hall said: “There were real concerns that Ricardas would harm that evening [on 26 September 2015].
“He did not return to work on Monday, September 28, 2015, as expected, but we now believe that Ricardas decided to run away because he had previously been a victim of a crime, subject to exploitation.
“A team of investigators worked tirelessly after a lot of inquiries, leading no one to search for records.
“Until we had received information that Ricardus may be alive and is still in the Wisbech area.
“After the discovery of the wooded area in Harecoft Road, Ricardes was finally found to be in a living state, very well hidden after not having to talk to anyone for a while.
He said, “We had decided not to publicly announce that we had so far found the records alive to protect him and had taken measures to protect him.”
“He is safe and we are working closely with him to ensure that he is safe, but also to ensure that he gets that support even after living in extremely difficult conditions during the last five or more years needed.”
A 31-year-old man from Wijbech was arrested on suspicion of murder in December 2015 and no further action was taken.
Police have launched an investigation into the possible exploitation of records. Detectives in Fenland are chasing several leads.
In November last year, Detective Chief Inspector Adam Gallop told Cambridgeshire that Ricardes could still be alive as he appealed for renewed tips.
In August 2018, police were made aware of a Facebook page named Ricardes, which was being accessed and managed somewhere in Wisbech, leading detectives to hope he was not dead.
The photographs on the page showed a dramatic change in his appearance.
Authorities tried to make contact with Records through the page, which had around 70 friends, including his relatives and close friends. A phone number was linked to the account, but as of last November the police had been unable to locate the owner of the phone.
The person behind the account responded to messages sent by family members of the records, but replies were often vague and slow.
A message for the cousin would only contain the records.
Nevertheless, the case was being treated as a murder investigation until Ricardes was found alive.
Two photos have been posted to the Facebook page since the records were located on 1 July and have thanked family and friends for their best wishes.
Mirror Online has contacted the Knightlayer leaked company for comment.