A Co Tyrone pensioner who vanished after leaving for South Africa on December 28 has been found “safe and well”.
Stanley Currie (66) from Cookstown is believed to have flown to Johannesburg to meet a woman he had been chatting with online for the past two years, taking a large sum of cash with him.
His family have no idea who the woman is and were worried he had been the victim of a scam.
After not hearing from him for over a week, they issued an appeal for information.
His brother, Richard, posted a plea for help on the South African Community Crime Watch (SACCW) Facebook page and said Stanley boarded a plane in Dublin to meet the mystery woman in Johannesburg.
“He boarded a flight to Johannesburg on a ‘one way’ ticket to meet this person,” Richard said.
“He hadn’t booked any accommodation over there, was carrying a large amount of cash. He suffers from depression and has got heart and health problems.
“Numerous attempts have been made by myself and his family to contact him, but his phone has been turned off since Sunday night.
“We are now getting very concerned about him.”
But last night, the Bedfordshire and Edenvale News website reported that it had been told by the chairperson for the Edenvale Community Police Forum, Sheryl Damerell, that Mr Currie had been found safe.
And the South African Community Crime Watch – a non-profit group – also reported that Mr Currie had been found.
“Thank you for sharing, and thank you to all the members of public that made contact with us concerning this case,” they said. It is understood that Mr Currie was found safe in Edenvale, in the province of Gauteng, in the north east of South Africa.
Earlier, Steven King, chief executive of South Africa Community Crime Watch, had said his organisation was working with the family to investigate what might have happened and said they were still waiting for confirmation that Mr Currie had arrived in South Africa.
He said: “Immigration will confirm with us whether he has arrived in the country, and once we’ve established that then we will be able to continue the investigation. We will be able see where he went from there because he would have either been picked up or he would have hired a vehicle to go somewhere.”