Man who 'vanished into thin air' found

 

An elderly man with dementia who "vanished into thin air" after disappearing from a Melbourne hospital has been found.

Ratko Dujela, 79, was located in Kealba at 7.30am on Monday after a massive two-day public appeal to find him following his disappearance on Friday.

He was admitted into Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne's west on Thursday with what turned out to be a urine infection.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said on Monday morning Mr Dujela had been located in the nearby suburb and had been taken to hospital for a check-up but "appeared to be OK".

His family addressed the media on Sunday in a desperate bid to find Mr Dujela, with his stepdaughter saying she had heard her mother, Helen Guenzi, 79, crying out in her sleep for Mr Dujela since he went missing.

"I do everything for him," Ms Guenzi said. "We're always together."

She broke down as she begged for anyone who thought they had seen Mr Dujela to call the police.

"I'm worried," she said. "I hope he comes back … I hope he's alive."

Jacinta Neralic comforts her emotional mother Helen Guenzi, the partner of missing man Ratko Dujela, on Sunday. Picture: David Geraghty
Jacinta Neralic comforts her emotional mother Helen Guenzi, the partner of missing man Ratko Dujela, on Sunday. Picture: David Geraghty

He went missing sometime between 2pm and 2.30pm on Friday and could not be found despite extensive efforts from the family and community, stepdaughter Jacinta Neralic said.

"We've had literally no sleep," she said.

"We have spent three days driving around looking for him.

Helen Guenzi is desperately worried about her partner of 16 years, Ratko Dujela, who went missing from Sunshine Hospital on Friday. Picture: David Geraghty
Helen Guenzi is desperately worried about her partner of 16 years, Ratko Dujela, who went missing from Sunshine Hospital on Friday. Picture: David Geraghty

"I've approached businesses asking for CCTV footage … there's just nothing.

"He could be anywhere."

Victoria Police Sergeant Shayne Wallace said police held "grave concerns" for Mr Dujela as they searched the Brimbank area.

Mr Dujela was last seen at Sunshine Hospital between 2pm and 2.30pm on Friday, his worried stepdaughter told media.
Mr Dujela was last seen at Sunshine Hospital between 2pm and 2.30pm on Friday, his worried stepdaughter told media.

"Police are appealing to the public to keep a look out for Ratko, and if they do sight him to call triple-0," Sergeant Wallace said.

"Especially anyone in the Brimbank area, we want you to keep an eye out."

Ms Neralic said it was like Mr Dujela had "vanished into thin air".

Jacinta Neralic and her mother Helen Guenzi ‘haven’t slept’ since Mr Dujela went missing three days ago. Picture: David Geraghty
Jacinta Neralic and her mother Helen Guenzi ‘haven’t slept’ since Mr Dujela went missing three days ago. Picture: David Geraghty

She said he had gone missing once before but was found after two hours.

"We've put it on social media but this time we've got nothing; there's no sightings," she said.

"He hasn't eaten, he hasn't had anything to drink, it's cold at night, it's hot during the day … and having dementia, he doesn't know that he's lost."

Ratko Dujela is described as being 198cm tall with a solid build and grey hair. Picture: Supplied
Ratko Dujela is described as being 198cm tall with a solid build and grey hair. Picture: Supplied

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