Just another one of those “never give up hope” reminders: Nicole Denise Jackson, a Birmingham, Alabama woman who dropped out of sight in 2018, and Sajid Thungal, a man from Kottyam in the state of Kerala in India who was last heard from in 1974, have both resurfaced alive.
Neither of these people were ever listed on the Charley Project: Sajid because he didn’t disappear on American soil, and I’m not sure Nicole was ever officially listed as missing. They also have something else in common, in that both of them vanished after leaving their home countries.
Nicole stopped contacting her family after moving to Germany to be with a guy she met online. Her family finally hired a private investigator who was able to locate and speak to Nicole’s employer and landlord, and as a result Nicole went to the authorities with her ID and verified that she’s ok. She hasn’t gotten in touch with her family though. I don’t know if there were prior family problems, if she’s in a bad situation, if she’s embarrassed or what. But I’m glad to hear she’s alive and has a job and a place to live, anyway.
Sajid left home to make his fortune in the United Arab Emirates, taking a job managing a group of entertainers who were also Indian nationals. At some point in the ensuing few years he lost touch with his family. Then a plane with the entertainers he’d been managing crashed in Mumbai with the loss of all onboard. His family thought, given the circumstances, that Sajid might have died in the crash as well. However, that wasn’t the case.
The truth was that Sajid hadn’t made his fortune after all and was embarrassed by his poverty, and didn’t want to return home with his tail between his legs. And I suppose the more time passed without him writing his family, the more difficult it became to get started, and he just never did it. Until now. His father had passed away in the intervening years but his mom, wife and brothers are still alive.
When a person vanishes voluntarily like that, and then reappears after years have passed, re-integration into the family unit is often difficult. This Washington Post article from 2019 (which I’m quoted in) talks about several real-life cases of a missing person resurfacing and encountering bumps along the way.
The family members, though delighted that their loved one is back in their lives, may also be very angry at the them for causing them so much pain by not picking up the phone. Often, whatever problems that led the no-longer-missing person to go missing in the first place (be it mental illness, family issues, etc.) are still there when they return, and the person might have picked up some new problems along the way while they were missing. Furthermore, they may have built another life for themselves in the meantime, a life which didn’t include their family, and now they have to find a way to fit their family into that life.
It’s a big adjustment and I recommend individual and family therapy in such cases.