Missing Canadian found in the Amazon jungle after five years
A Canadian man that went missing five years ago, was found wandering on the road near the city of Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas. Apparently, he has come a long way from his native Canada, traversing two continents and surviving numerous hardships.
Anton Pilipa, a 39 year-old born in Toronto, was last seen by his family in 2012 in Scarborough, Canada. Suffering from schizophrenia and other mental problems for most of his life, he ventured out of his house and never returned.
Apparently, he walked and hitchhiked from Vancouver, where he lived, across USA, Mexico and Central America all the way to Manaus in Brazil. During this staggering 10.000 miles journey, he was even forced to walk barefoot across jungles and search for food in trash cans.
His family was devastated by his disappearance and had spent considerable time and effort trying to find him, but to no avail. Pilipa’s brother , Stefan, said that he was very worried and sad, especially knowing how much Anton had already suffered due to his mental problems. “I found myself being really frustrated all the time, always having that aching question: ‘Where is he? What happened to him?'”, Mr Pilipa told CBC. But when he found out the good news, he was ecstatic. “I feel amazed that he’s alive and had made it that far”.
Anton was initially picked up by Brazilian police in November last year. He had no identification on him, and barely spoke to police officers, stating only that he is a Canadian. Helenice Vidigal, a Brazilian-Canadian police officer, did all she could to help him, using Twitter to identify him and get in touch with his family. Afterwards, he was put in a hospital. News of discovery soon reached his family, who at first, couldn’t believe he was still alive. But then bad news hit them again. Anton had escaped the hospital and headed back into jungle.
After several weeks of surviving and sleeping in the wilderness of Amazon rainforest, one day, he was seen walking along a road and that’s when police managed to catch him again and bring him back to Manaus. During his escape, both police and his family were very worried about his health and safety. His brother Stefan told that when Anton was found, it was obvious that his health had deteriorated and his life was in danger.
The full details of Anton’s journey have not been made clear yet. But according to his family he reached as far south as Buenos Aires, Argentina. Reportedly, he tried to enter the National library, but was turned back, so he went back to Brazil.
Anton is an anti-poverty activist, but according to media reports, he has a turbulent history. In 2011 he was charged with armed assault and offence. He went missing just before he was due in court. After he got reunited with his brother, they both went back to Canada. But before he even got home, Anton was arrested by Canadian police for avoiding a court order and skipping trial. He was released on bail several days later.
Although suffering from mental instability, Pilipa said he was glad to be home again, reunited with his family. “I know that I am very lucky to be alive. I am very happy to be able to return to my family.” He and his brother hope that a new treatment program will prevent Anton from making such wild adventures in the future.