Man Who Disappeared 27 Years Ago Found in Neighbor’s Cellar, 200 Meters from His Home

An Algerian man who had disappeared from his home one morning in 1998 was recently found alive in his neighbor’s cellar, just 200 meters from the house he had grown up in.

Omar bin Omran was only 17 years old when he disappeared from his home in Djelfa, Algeria, in 1998. It was during the Algerian Civil War, a time of great unrest in the African country, and many of his family and friends feared that he had ended up among the estimated 200,000 people killed, or the 20,000 kidnapped, during the conflict. Authorities stopped looking for him after a while, and his mother remained the only one who never gave up hope. Unfortunately, she died in 2013, and Omar bin Omran became yet another case that would likely never be solved. Only earlier this week, the brother of one of Omar’s neighbors took to social media to suggest that his sibling was involved in the teen’s kidnapping.

As it turns out, the two brothers were involved in a dispute over inheritance, so one of them spilled the beans on the other, hoping to have him arrested. The plan worked, as once Omar’s relatives saw the brother’s post, they contacted the police and Algeria’s public prosecutor’s office eventually authorized a search of the suspected neighbor’s property.

On May 12, Omar bin Omran, now in his early 40s was found right where the suspect’s brother claimed he was, in a sheepfold under haystacks. The suspect, a 61-year-old man referred to only by his initials, BA, tried to run during the police raid but was apprehended and is currently in custody. As for Omar, he appeared confused when he saw police descend upon his small cell, and doctors confirmed that he was suffering from both physical and mental problems.

Other neighbors told Algerian news outlet El Khabar that BA kept to himself, never allowing anyone onto his property. Some said that they always found it strange that he seemed to order food for at least two people, even though he lived by himself.

The kidnapper has also been accused of killing Omar bin Omran’s dog, as some of the neighbors remember the canine sat outside the neighbor’s house and whined in the days after his kidnapping, before finally disappearing as well.

The investigation in this case is still ongoing, but Omar did tell police that he often saw his family members passing by from his underground prison, but he was unable to call out to them for help. Algerian media claims he was petrified like his captor had cast a spell on him.

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