Missing Spanish Doctor Found Living Alone In An Italian Forest 20 Years Later


A Spanish doctor was discovered in a forest in Italy after having been missing for almost 20 years. Carlos Sanchez Ortiz de Salazar, 47, had been missing since 1996 after leaving his home in Seville while suffering from depression and was declared dead in 2010. He was born in Bilbao, Spain and graduated with a degree in medicine prior to his disappearance.

Last week, two mushroom pickers encountered a man with a dirty face and large beard living in a forest in Tuscany, claiming to be Sanchez. The Local reports that the two men fled the scene, but later returned with a forest ranger.

The man, presumed to be Salazar, then identified himself before fleeing again. “I’m Spanish, my name is Carlos and I’ve been living here since 1997,” he said. “I don’t want to live among people: now that you have found me I need to get out of here.”

The man allowed the mushroom pickers to photograph some documents, including a passport, which the men then delivered to missing persons’ associations in Italy and Spain. Antonio La Scala, director of Italy’s Penelope Association contacted Sanchez’s parents, who made the flight out to Italy in hopes of reuniting with their missing son, reported El Mundo. The family and the mayor of nearby Scarlino formed a search party for Sanchez but were only able to find his now vacant shelter .

It’s unclear how he was able to find food, but the search party discovered several cans filled with water and a tarp that he used for shelter. Some residents of the neighboring village claim to have seen Sanchez, suggesting he may have occasionally traveled into the village in search of food. Although their search was unsuccessful, Sanchez’s mother, Amelia, expressed great relief at the thought that her son may still be alive. “He’s alive and that is the important thing. We will respect his wishes and his freedom, but we won’t go home until we have at least given him a hug, even for a few moments,” she reportedly told Italian media.