On July 8th 2014 German tourist Lars Mittank disappeared without a trace in Varna, Bulgaria, he was 28 years of age. Of course it’s a sad fact that adults disappear on an all too regular basis, many intentionally, however that doesn’t appear to be the case with Lars Mittank, and what makes the mystery surrounding his disappearance all the more disturbing is his erratic behaviour in the 24 hours prior, and the footage that later emerged of his movements immediately before vanishing.
Lars Mittank was holidaying in the party destination area on the Black Sea in Bulgaria with friends, regarded as a less obvious and low cost haven for young people similar to say Ibiza or the Greek Island getaways. Lars and his companions arrived in Varna on the 30th June ready to soak up some sun and enjoy the summer holidays. They were residing at Golden Sands, a popular coastal resort central to the nightlife and where for want of a better description the action was.
A mere few days into their stay as is often the case when you mix groups of young men with large quantities of booze, they had an altercation with another set of German travellers, supposedly football rivalry sparked the altercation. There are it seems some conflicting reports regarding this, one of which and the most credible suggests that Lars was set upon later in the evening as they returned to their hotel from their night out, Lars was on his own and suffered minor injuries as a result.
His friends had stopped to get some takeaway food, Lars waited outside, as his friends emerged Lars was nowhere to be seen. After a brief search they assumed he must have headed back to the hotel and proceeded to do so themselves. However on returning there was still no sign of their missing friend, and the group decided to go to bed assuming he would return at some point.
Lars did indeed return the following morning, however he was injured and explained to his mates that he had been set upon by a group of thugs, and in a bizarre statement insisted that the attackers had been hired by the rival football fans they had argued with earlier in the evening. The group were scheduled to travel home that day, however with severe enough injuries to warrant medical attention, it was clear Lars needed to go to hospital. His friends offered to stay with him, but Lars insisted he would be fine and could catch a flight later that day.
The group separated, his friends took a taxi to the airport, while Lars took another to the nearest medical centre. It emerged that despite the obvious cuts and bruises Lars had perforated his eardrum, and the Doctor advised him not to fly home for at least a few days, and suggested a simple surgical procedure that would alleviate the problem. Lars refused, uncomfortable with the idea of surgery in an alien environment, he did however accept the prescription for some antibiotics to guard against infection, which he duly paid for and collected from a local pharmacy.
Understanding that travel was out of the question in the short term Lars Mittank went on the search for cheap accommodation and ended up checking in to a modest family run hotel, that some reports have described as being in a less than desirable area.
It’s at this stage in the story that things begin to take a decidedly bizarre twist and Lars begins to act out of character. He called his Mother from his mobile phone shortly before midnight, explaining that he felt uncomfortable when checking in, scared even, and asked her to cancel his credit card, he went to state that he was leaving the hotel. Staff would later confirm that indeed Lars did vacate the building, taking all his belongings with him.
A few hours later and Lars Mittank called his Mum again, in a quiet whisper he told her that he was being followed by four men and that he had a found a place to hide. Later on Lars frantically hailed a cab on the street, it is reported that a woman was already in the cab, and agreed to give him a lift to the airport, presumably she was heading their herself. Investigations further down the line noted that both the taxi driver and female passenger claim Lars’ eyes were dilated, was this because he was scared, or had taken drugs?
Lars again contacted his Mum, texting her to ask what Cfc-500 was. This of course was a reference to the antibiotics he had been prescribed, however upon further research there appears to be little in the way of side effects, other than those common traits associated with medicine of this sort and certainly nothing hallucinogenic in nature.
On arriving at the airport Lars phoned his Mum again, and she booked him a return flight online, at this point she insisted that he saw the airport medical staff before boarding. Lars Mittank spoke to his mother one more time, frightened he remained adamant that he was still being pursued by the mysterious men. He sought the advice of the doctor on site all the same, however what happened during this period had a dramatic impact on Lars emotionally.
During his brief check up there was an interruption, as the story goes a construction worker entered the Doctors office to talk about some work that was being done, and without a second though Lars Mittank fled, leaving behind his luggage, mobile phone and passport at which point he was picked up on CCTV.
As can be seen on the footage he shot out of the terminal, and proceeded to look for a way out, a witness claimed he clambered over a large barbed wire fence before disappearing into the wooded area beyond. This was the last time Lars was seen by anyone.
With no history of mental illness, and a perforated eardrum that in all fairness would not ultimately prevent travel, other than making for a less than comfortable flight, what on earth happened in the 24 hours leading up to his disappearance?
What exactly did go on that evening, when out of character, Lars abandoned his friends and from their accounts of his story, had a physical confrontation with some hired thugs?
How did Lars come to the conclusion that they had been paid to beat him up? And moreover were his friends not on the one hand deeply concerned about this, and on the other at the very least confused as to why these football fans they’d had a typical alpha male confrontation with would do that?
Were the men that persued Lars the following day, and supposedly at the airport, the same men that beat him up? And if so what on earth were they after?
Why was Lars so concerned as to text his mum regarding a straightforward prescription of antibiotics, is it possible he had some sort of strange reaction to them, a delusional episode?
What happened at the hotel he checked into that spooked him enough to make his mother cancel his credit card and leave the premises in the middle of the night? All of this in such a short space of time, from a seemingly average, normal if you like, young man who had been enjoying a summer break with friends. It’s startling that after making his way over the fence, no trace of him has ever been found.
A lorry driver claims to have given someone matching the description a lift. As usual with strange cases theories abound, from Lars choosing to disappear (although it would be a strange way to go about it), to an underground organ trafficking ring being responsible.
In the time since his distraught Mother Sandra has returned numerous times to the area and even hired a private investigator. There remains a 40,000 Euro reward for information and even a Facebook page dedicated to the cause.