Missing Special Olympian turns up in Hayward
A Special Olympics athlete from Albania who went missing from the games in Los Angeles over the weekend showed up at the Hayward Police Department early Monday morning saying that he was hungry, a Los Angeles police spokesman said.
Andi Gusmari, a 44-year-old bowler, appears to be in good condition and will fly from Oakland to Los Angeles later today, according to Los Angeles police Officer Drake Madison.
Special Olympics International, which organized the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles last week, is sending a representative to Oakland International Airport, where Hayward police will turn over Gusmari, Madison said.
Gusmari eventually will be flown back to Albania to be reunited with his family, Madison said.
Hayward police spokesman Ruben Pola said that when Gusmari walked into the lobby area of the Hayward Police Department around 2 a.m. and gave no explanation about the details of his disappearance.
Gusmari “appeared unharmed, healthy and in good spirits,” Pola said in a statement.
Gusmari used a language line but was unable to explain the circumstances of his disappearance other than to say he was looking for a police department before he wound up at the Hayward Police Department, according to Pola.
Special Olympics World Games spokesman Jeff Carr said he understands that Gusmari told Hayward police that he wound up in Hayward after taking a bus.
But Carr said it’s unclear why Gusmari left Los Angeles and wound up in Hayward.
Carr said part of the problem is that Gusmari doesn’t speak English and has a speech impediment that makes it difficult even for people who speak Serbian, his native language, to understand him.
Carr said Albanian Special Olympics officials reported Gusmari missing at about 11 p.m. Saturday when they did a bed check at the team’s hotel and couldn’t find him.
Carr said competition in the Special Olympics World Games ended Saturday night and closing ceremonies were held Sunday night.