Lars Mittank has been missing since 8 July 2014, when he vanished from Bulgaria’s Varna airport.
The 28 year old German and his friends had travelled to Bulgaria on 30 June. They checked into the Viva Hotel, in the seaside town of Golden Sands. The town is 17km along the coast from the large port city of Varna and is popular with young European tourists who come to enjoy the nightlife, beaches and cheap booze.
Lars apparently got into two fights during the holiday; one during a day at the beach and one outside a McDonalds after a night out. One of these fights was with rival Bayern Munich fans (Lars supported Werder Bremen) and during one of the altercations, he damaged an eardrum.
Lars saw a doctor, was prescribed the antibiotic Cefuroxime 500, and was advised not to fly home on the scheduled date. His friends flew home as planned, and Lars checked into Kolor, a cheap hostel in the centre of Varna.
That night he phoned his mother, telling her he believed that he was being followed by four men who wanted to know ‘what the tablets were’. He asked her to cancel his credit cards, and said he was afraid because there was something strange about the hostel. He later texted her, asking ‘What is Cefuroxime 500?’
His mother booked him plane tickets home for the following day, 8 July.
The next morning, Lars made his way by taxi to the airport. He walked into the terminal with his holdall and back pack, and after a brief exchange with a woman (who looks like she might be airport staff) made his way to the doctor’s office.
CCTV captured Lars sprinting out of the doctor’s office approximately 46 minutes later; this sudden dash was apparently prompted by the appearance of a mysterious ‘maintenance man’. It’s unclear if the maintenance man had accessed the consultation room or just the reception area, but either way, his presence was enough to spook Lars into running away.
The CCTV shows Lars running back out into the terminal, before it picks him up running around outside, where he slows to a jog, pauses, then runs towards the perimeter fence. Here, he scales the fence and disappears into the woodland. You can view the CCTV here:
In Easter 2015, a truck driver told police that some months ago, he had given a man matching Lars’ description a lift. Where he taken him to is unknown, and it has never been verified that this was Lars.
1) Where is Lars’ passport and mobile phone?
2) Was his room at the hostel searched?
3) Were the bags he left in the doctor’s office searched?
4) Who did he get into a fight/fights with?
5) Who were the 4 men he told his mother about?
6) Did Lars suffer a head injury during either the beach or McDonalds altercations?
7) Who was the maintenance man, and why was he in the doctor’s office the same time as Lars?
8) Why was Lars in with the doctor for so long? Was the doctor persuading him not to fly?
- The most popular theory is that Lars ran into either some members of an organised crime gang, or someone in the organ trafficking business, or possibly both. Once a doctor had established that Lars was alone in the country, and was staying in a dodgy part of town, he was able to have someone follow him (the 4 men that Lars told his mother about in his last phone call) How likely is it that Lars was targeted for the organ black market? I thought it sounded improbable that a German tourist, someone who would be missed, would be a viable target. But then during my research for this post, there was really very little media coverage of the case outside of Germany. Lars’ disappearance seems to be mainly the focus of Reddit threads, with there being little information elsewhere. A report published earlier this year found that there was a perception that Bulgaria had the highest level of corruption out of all the EU countries. When Lars got to the airport, either the doctor there, or the maintenance man, (both also possibly in on the business) spooked him. This doesn’t explain why he slows to a jog once he’s outside the airport, but does explain why he might have been fearful enough to escape into the woods. From there, he was either caught by the people chasing him, or got lost and succumbed to the elements or to whatever was in the woods - wolves still live in rural Bulgaria
- Lars was a drugs mule. He had swallowed the drugs and was worried the bags would rupture
- Another theory is that during his stay in the hostel, Lars was witness to something he shouldn’t have been. Again, this would explain his odd phone calls to his mother – where he told her he was very freaked out, but couldn’t say by what, other than he was being followed by 4 men
- The next theory is that during one of the fights, Lars suffered a head injury and was experiencing a form of psychosis (where have we heard that one before?) resulting in paranoid delusions. This may account for the belief that he was being followed, and then, when he got to the doctor’s office, that he was going to be harmed
- A last theory is that he had an adverse reaction to the antibiotics, but a bit of reading suggests that temporary psychosis is not a side effect of Cefuroxime 500. You can read about the side effects here, and judge for yourself:
So, what do you think happened to Lars?