A missing man from Huddersfield has reportedly been found dazed and confused in Lapland – 2,175miles (3,5000km) away – in northern Sweden with the help of social media.
Nial Atkin’s family have been trying to track him down since he disappeared in May last year but now a Swedish man thinks he has found him in Kiruna, Sweden, reports the Mirror. Jerry Ahlqvist had been trying to find out the identity of the homeless man he had found disoriented in the street via a Facebook appeal. He now believes that man is Nial and in his latest post said that he has spoken to his mother after his social media message seeking his identity had been shared widely.
He wrote last Saturday: “So yesterday I found a homeless person that was acting a bit strange, he seemed confused and was just walking back and forth. I brought him home and cleaned him, gave him some food and new clothes, and a clean bed to sleep in. He is kind of hard to communicate with, he gets lost in his thoughts, takes a long time to answer questions and he just stares into nothing. He has told me some information about himself but he ends every sentence with ‘sort of’ so the information can also be incorrect.” He added that Nial said he was 26 and worked in IT near Leeds.
Jerry also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to bring Nial home from Sweden. The Facebook messaged continued: “I can’t help the feeling that his family is concerned about his whereabouts and maybe looking for him, also he is confused and he is not capable of taking care of himself. Anyway he is currently in a small town called Kiruna way up north in Sweden. I think he needs some help but I don’t know what to do? Help me help him? Share and try finding his family?” Police in the UK had thought that Nial had gone to Scotland where social media was being used to track him.
Jerry has now updated his Facebook page with: “We have found his mother and I have spoken with her on the phone. Everything will be sorted out. The thing is that Nial is in a psychotic state and he does not know what he wants or what’s best for him. But we will figure this out. His mother knows and understands because she has a psychiatric education and I know and understand because I have myself gone through treatment for schizophrenia and have suffered psychosis myself so I saw the signs from across the streets.”
He added: “Everything will be okay and we will try to get the proper treatment for him! THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ENGAGEMENT! We did it!”
West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that a Swedish resident had been in touch over Nial’s disappearance. It said: “Kirklees Police were contacted on Sunday July 11 2021 by a caller who made a missing person’s report about a 26-year-old male who was said to be missing and believed to be in Sweden. Officers have now spoken with a resident in Sweden who has confirmed they have had contact with the missing person and enquiries currently remain ongoing.”
The Foreign Office is also reportedly offering support for the family.