The Mysterious Disappearance of Lars Mittank

In summer 2014, German tourist Lars Mittank arrived in Bulgaria with four friends for a holiday of sun and sea on the Black Sea coast One week later, just before his flight home, CCTV captured Lars entering Varna Airport alone

Suddenly, he is seen without his bags, running away Out of the airport, over a fence and into the woods He has never been seen since Why did Lars Mittank suddenly disappear? Lars Joachim Mittank was a healthy 28 year old power plant worker from Northwest Germany when he arrived in Bulgaria on June 30th, 2014 On July 8th, CCTV recorded him walking calmly into Varna airport with his bags for a return flight home

Forty-six minutes later, the same camera filmed him running away without his belongings Outside, cameras caught him jogging away from the airport, then jumping over a fence and running across a meadow, towards the woods As far as we know, Lars had every intention to catch his flight He had a girlfriend and a steady job waiting for him in Germany Around 6 a

m, Lars texted his mother to say that he had arrived at Varna airport for his journey home However, before he boarded the plane, he went for a brief medical exam, on the recommendation of his mother This is because, on the night of July 6th, Lars ruptured his eardrum in a fight with fans of a rival football club The air pressure changes of flying before his eardrum had sufficiently recovered would cause him great pain

On medical advice, Lars stayed an extra night while his friends went home as planned on the 7th July The doctor who gave him his check up at the airport, Doctor Kosta Kostov, is the last known person to speak to Lars He described Lars as fit and healthy, but trembling and anxious According to Doctor Kostov, when a workman entered the office, Lars leapt to his feet and screamed, “I don’t want to die here I have to get out of here

” As far as we know, this is what he is running from in the CCTV footage He left his wallet, phone and passport behind From the doctor’s description, it sounds like Lars was paranoid and mentally disturbed But he had no prior history of mental illness, and his friends confirmed that when they left him the day before, he was relaxed and in a good mood Though they offered to stay the extra night with him, he seemed so well that they followed his insistence to leave on their original flight

Something happened in the twenty-four hours between his friends leaving, and his arrival at the airport Staff at the hotel he stayed in said he started acting erratically on the day before he disappeared He paced about, seemed nervous, and left the hotel for an hour at 1 am He called his mother in Germany and asked her to cancel his credit cards

He claimed men were following him, asking him about pills He also sent her a text asking her about a drug called Cefuroxime Cefuroxime is an antibiotic used to treat a range of infections It was prescribed to Lars Mittank after he ruptured his eardrum on the 6th July Its side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, breathing difficulties, stomach cramps or rashes

However, from the doctor’s examination at the airport and from the statements by his friends, there is no indication that Lars suffered any of these side effects Even if he did, there is no connection between his strange behaviour and the drug Based solely on this evidence, the inescapable conclusion is that Lars was afraid of someone Presumably, Lars felt it had something to do with the antibiotic he was carrying No-one knows who was after Lars

He told his mother that four men were following him Were they the same four men he fought over a football dispute? Or were they another gang? Or were they just a figment of his imagination? There is speculation that Lars’ paranoia arose from trauma resulting from his head injury However, psychological conditions like these take months or years to develop They do not happen overnight – and we know Lars had a healthy mental history until the day he vanished Others have suggested Lars fell foul of people traffickers or drug smugglers

Indeed, we do not know exactly when he received his injury His friends were not with him when it happened In fact, according to them, after the fight with the football fans, he was unharmed Lars told them he was accosted by thugs hired by the fans he argued with, but we do not know if this is it what really happened Moreover, a passenger who shared his taxi to the airport said his eyes were dilated and bloodshot

This could either be the product of a sleepless night, or a powerful chemical substance It is a known trick for drug runners to force innocent tourists to smuggle substances across borders Sometimes they compel these drug mules to swallow the drugs in packets, to egest them on the other side of the journey Could Lars have been forced to do this, and unintentionally ingested the product? Logic says it is unlikely that he was smuggling drugs – whether against his will or not – because in Europe border security is so much tighter at airports customs than on trains or roads over borders Unless he was accosted by an unprofessional or inexperienced drug gang, they probably would not select a mule to travel by plane, which is the riskiest way to smuggle

SECTION FIVE The honest truth is that we do not know what happened to Lars Mittank There has been no trace of him in the years since he went into the woods In all likelihood, he is dead – either the victim of a tragic accident while in a disturbed state of mind, or the target of a sinister gang of criminals Perhaps, though, there is a chance he is still out there Perhaps, by leaving his possessions, ID and bank cards behind with witnesses to account for them, he managed to abandon his old identity

And perhaps he has forged a new, safe life for himself Perhaps

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