Man Missing For 26 Years Found Alive In Neighbour’s House


An Algerian man, Omar Bin Omran, who went missing at the age of 17, 26 years ago following an alleged kidnapping, has been found alive in his neighbour’s house.

According to Daily Mail on Wednesday, Omar was discovered in a hole in the ground within a sheep pen, concealed under stacks of hay.

Omar, one of nine children, disappeared in the city of Djelfa, Algeria, 26 years ago. His family believed he had been killed during the civil war that ravaged the nation in the 1990s and early 2000s.

According to reports, Omar was found less than 200 meters from his family’s home. A 61-year-old neighbour is now in police custody after Omar, now 45, was rescued on May 12.

Footage was shared on social media and broadcast on Algerian television networks of the moment that he was found in what appeared to be a hole in the ground, described by authorities as a sheep pen, within the home of his alleged captor.

The blurry video shows torchlights shining into a pit surrounded by hay as Omar furtively looks up, seemingly in shock at the search party surrounding him, with stray pieces of straw in his hair.

Other images have since been circulated of the bearded man emerging from the hole, thought to be a sheep pen, and of him as a teenager, sitting with a dog and with young children before he disappeared.

According to the Algerian newspaper El Khabar, his dog recognized his scent and stayed near where Omar was held. It was alleged that the captor poisoned the dog to ward the family off.

Omar went missing in 1998 while heading to a vocational school. He was found after the captor’s brother aired grievances on social media, reportedly over an inheritance dispute.

This led Omar’s family to search the neighbour’s house, where they found him. The captor attempted to flee but was restrained and arrested.

Tragically, Omar’s mother died in 2013 without knowing the fate of her son. Reports suggest Omar was informed of his mother’s death while in captivity.

A relative said on Facebook: ‘Thank god my cousin was found. Bin Imran Omar is in good health after 26 years of disappearance. Awaiting details of the case and investigations.’

Public prosecutors in Djelfa, a mountain city of around 500,000 people around 140 miles south of coastal capital Algiers, say Omar will receive psychological care after being rescued as they vowed to get him justice.

‘The Djelfa Attorney General’s Office informs the public that on May 12 at 8 pm local time, it found victim Omar B, aged 45, in the case of his neighbour, B.A., aged 61,’ they said in a statement.

A court official in Djelfa was quoted as saying: “Two days ago, on 12 May 2024, the Public Prosecutor’s Office received, through the regional department of the National Gendarmerie in El Jadid, a complaint against an anonymous person claiming that the complainant’s brother, Omar bin Omran, who has been missing for about 30 years, is in the house of one of his neighbours, inside a sheepfold.

Following this report, the General Prosecutor of the Court of Idrisiya in the province of Djelfa ordered the National Gendarmerie to open an in-depth investigation and officers went to the house in question.

He added: “The Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered that the victim receive medical and psychological treatment, and the suspect will be presented to the Public Prosecutor’s Office immediately after the completion of the investigation.”

Officials have promised the ‘perpetrator of this heinous crime’ will be tried with ‘severity.’

The suspect, a civil servant, lived alone but was often seen buying enough food for two people. A neighbour recounted to Algerian TV station Bilad that Omar’s mother died without knowing her son was so close by.

Questions have arisen about why Omar did not call for help during his captivity. Some reports claim Omar said he was unable to call out because of a spell cast by his captor, while others suggest his psychological state may have prevented him from seeking help.

The case may be among the world’s longest-running kidnapping cases. Eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped in Meyers, California in 1991 and remained missing for over 18 years after she was captured by Phillip and Nancy Garrido.

Dugard was kept in depraved conditions and was subjected to extreme sexual abuse, having two children by Phillip Garrido, and later said she adapted to sympathising with her captors to survive.


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