Six Haitian men scheduled to compete in Orlando’s Special Olympic USA Games are missing, according to CBS News. Law enforcement is searching for them and put out a notice alerting the public of where they were last seen.
Antione Joseph Mithon, Nicholson Fontilus, Peter Mianovich Berlus, Anderson Petit-Frere, Steevenson Jacquet and Oriol Jean were expected Monday when the event began. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Officer published a notice saying they were last seen at around 2:30 p.m. that day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Per CBS, all six of them turned in their room keys and left their personal belongings behind. However, there are no current leads as to where they could’ve went.
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“How you fly into a country and just disappear, and no one knows anything? I mean that’s disturbing,” said Hope Watson, a mother of a Special Olympics athlete. “Maybe they went to see family. Maybe it’s something different, and they really aren’t missing.”
Special Olympics said in a statement that “five of the men are not participating athletes and one has an intellectual disability.”
They go on to say, “The wellbeing of these delegates is our foremost concern,” but adding “authorities say there’s no reason to believe the health and safety of any of the adults is at risk.”
Orlando’s community is home to about 40,000 Haitian people, according to Global City Mission Initiative. Following the earthquake in 2010 and the more recent assassination of former Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, more Haitians have begun migrating to the US but specifically, Florida.
The idea that the six Olympic competitors could be reconnecting with their community isn’t completely far off. Though, the sheriff’s office says they believe their disappearance is an isolated incident and asks the public for tips.
“We are in communication with Walt Disney World, Special Olympics and our Law Enforcement and Federal partners. At this time, we believe this is an isolated event and do not suspect foul play. We are asking anyone with information to please contact the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office,” they said via press release.