NEWS

Anton Pilipa Found In Brazil After Going Missing In 2012

02/08/2017 01:08 EST | Updated 02/08/2017 05:19 EST

A Toronto man missing since 2012 is now finally home.

Anton Pilipa, 39, flew back to the city Monday from Brazil with his brother Stefan, according to CBC News.

He had started a treatment for schizophrenia right before he disappeared, leaving behind documents, clothes and his house, BBC Brasil reported.

Stefan told CBC News he believes his brother, who he calls an anti-poverty activist, walked — sometimes barefoot — part of the way to Brazil, and that he also hitchhiked and rode in the back of transport trucks.

"I feel amazed that he's alive and had made it that far,” he said.

anton pilipa

39-year-old Anton Pilipa is now back in Toronto, thanks to his brother and a number of generous donors. (Photo: GoFundMe)

A police officer first spotted Anton wandering on a highway in November in the state of Rondônia, according to BBC Brasil.

He couldn't speak Portugese and would only say his name was Anton, the federal highway police wrote on Facebook.

He was taken to hospital in Porto Velho, but escaped before authorities could identify him.

Highway police contacted the Canadian Embassy, giving them his first name, physical attributes and photo in the hopes someone would know him.

Through social media, his family only recently learned he’d been found homeless in northern Brazil in December, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds to bring Anton home.

He was found again in January, walking on a road near the city of Manaus.

But the cost of bringing him back to Canada was high, Stefan said. Around $1,600 was needed for Anton’s flight home from Brazil, $2,000 for consular and hospital fees and about $3,500 for a few months’ rent in Toronto, as well as some money to cover Stefan’s round trip.

"I feel amazed that he's alive and had made it that far."

The campaign exceeded its $8,000 goal, raising $12,000. Several donors expressed their joy at a happy ending.

In an interview with BBC Brasil, Anton said he took food and clothes from garbage cans and slept out in the open. But he said he is grateful to be coming home and "lucky to be alive."

Stefan told CBC News his brother's health was starting to deteriorate when he picked him up.

"We got him just in time," he said.

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