The family of an 83-year-old man who went missing from St Vincent de Paul home for the elderly earlier this week believe their relative might be sheltering from the blistering heat in nearby fields.
They have appealed to owners of land in Luqa, Santa Lucija, Kirkop, Qormi, Gudja, Mqabba, Qrendi, Safi and his hometown Żurrieq to check the structures in their private fields and properties in case he is taking refuge there.
Charlie Fino, also known as Karmenu, was captured on CCTV footage casually walking out through the main gate at 3am on Tuesday morning.
The closed-circuit footage is being analysed by police investigators who are trying to trace him.
The police on Friday released a grab from other CCTV footage showing Fino walking in Luqa, close to the home for the elderly, on the night he went missing.
As his disappearance enters its fifth day, the man’s relatives have told Times of Malta they are still hoping he will be located as soon as possible.
The 83-year-old man was wearing a light blue t-shirt and dark bermudas. A spokesperson for the police said an intensive search was underway.
“Uncle Charlie has now been missing for four nights. Our priority as a family is that he be found as soon as possible. In this regard, we are grateful for the continued efforts of the authorities searching for him and reiterate our call to the general public to contact the police should they see someone who resembles him,” they said.
Unable to communicate verbally due to dementia
“Uncle Charlie is a gentle, kind-hearted man who though unable to communicate verbally now, because of dementia, is a friendly soul. His conversation is limited to saying ‘Number 1’— he always had a sense of humour. He is not aggressive,” the relatives added.
The CCTV footage is being analysed by an internal inquiry, led by retired judge Geoffrey Valenzia. It is seeking to establish the facts and make recommendations to prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future.
Sources said the inquiry will also call in the guard on duty that night to find out why he failed to see and stop the old man as he walked through the gate at that time of the morning.
The man’s relatives were reluctant to comment on issues of responsibility surrounding his disappearance, saying they were satisfied that an independent inquiry, headed by a retired judge, had been ordered.
“While this is underway, we will not be commenting on the responsibility aspects of his disappearance. We continue to hope that he will be found. We hope that the public does not lose sight of the most urgent matter at hand ― locating him as soon as possible,” the relatives said as they praised Times of Malta’s efforts to shed light on “this human tragedy”.
Any information can be passed on to the police at village stations, on 2122 4001 or 119.