Whatever happened to “Kalli?”
By KEREM HASAN / Chief Reporter
Despite searches by police and Turkey’s specialist search and rescue organisaition Akut, no trace of the 69-year-old retired car parts salesman, known as “Kalli” to friends and family, has been found.
Now the missing man’s stepson, Lars Laufer, has returned to North Cyprus to offer a 1,000 euros reward in a fresh attempt to solve the mystery and bring an end to the despair of his mother and the rest of the family.
“Even if he has died, we want to be able to bury him in our country. My mother is very concerned. My sister is in a very bad state. She is constantly crying. Nobody seems to be able to offer any answers,” he said.
Mr Weiss arrived at Ercan airport with a small tour group last January 24, and spent the first three days at the Salamis Bay hotel in Gazimağusa. On January 27, he and his group checked in to Riverside, where he stayed in room 251. It was his first visit to North Cyprus.
The family’s lawyer, Meral Erensoy Metay, told Cyprus Today: “That evening, he had had a meal with his tour friends in the hotel at about 8pm, and said goodnight to his hotel room neighbour.
“There are eye witness accounts of him walking on Alsancak’s Ankara Caddesi at 9.40pm. “We have been informed that Mr Weiss was last seen on walking past the Açmenya restaurant at 10.18pm. He was wearing a red top and white trousers. This is the last time that he was actually seen,” she said.
Mr Laufer claims that the security camera system at Riverside was not working and therefore they could not tell exactly when Mr Weiss left. Mr Laufer believes his father-in-law took a circular route, turning east out of the Riverside and heading towards the centre of Alsancak, through the village, past Atakara supermarket and back up towards his hotel.
Crucially, he was captured on a traffic camera, just after the Açmenya restaurant, where he pauses for a moment and appears to throw something in a bin.
Mr Laufer, 47, an IT consultant from Göttingen, said “It has been six months and there is no sign of my stepfather which has caused devastation to us as a family,” he said.
“This is my third visit to North Cyprus. I have come to make a public plea to the authorities, to residents, to civil groups, to the press. . .to help me organise a new search campaign.
“What we want is 100 boots on the ground – the army or police. Failing this for residents to help me look near to a 3km radius of the hotel where I believe his body is, based on credible eye witness accounts.
“The fact that there has been no development has caused us further frustration at not knowing what has happened, and the Covid-19 pandemic also never helped the situation. I am here again and we are putting up leaflets all across the Alsancak-Lapta region into shops, restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars.”
Mr Laufer and his partner, Kristin, 46, met Alsancak mayor Fırat Ataser on Tuesday and other officials and residents of the villages of Malatya and Alsancak. He hopes to meet President Mustafa Akıncı to ask for assistance from the state. The missing man’s wife, Edeltraut Laufer-Weiss, has recorded a short video with a heartfelt plea to Mr Akıncı to help find her husband.
“The roads of Alsancak near Riverside are very up and down. It could well be that in the night he fell somewhere. Nobody knows. I know that he is here, somewhere! We are not leaving any place untouched. We are even looking in wells, empty construction buildings, riverbeds and valleys but we need manpower, we are very desperate for help,” Mr Laufer said.
Police said the investigation into Mr Weiss’ disappearnce is continuing.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact: +90 (537) 284 26 69 or mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org