More than 18 days have now passed since the disappearance of 68-year-old British holidaymaker Phil Pearce in Benidorm – and currently there are still no concrete leads on his whereabouts. It is his first time to the resort and he was staying for a week at the Gemelos 26 on Calle Derramador in the Rincon de Loix, popular with many Brits.
He left to go and buy tobacco on Monday 9 September between 4-5pm, taking some cash and nothing else – he did not have a mobile phone. The last confirmed sighting of Phil was in the early hours of Monday, September 9, 3am according to a report, leaving the National Police station on Carrer Apolo in the heart of the old town.
Yet bizarrely, despite being asked which direction he went upon exiting, the response from the police has been somewhat evasive, with ‘the camera was pointing in the wrong direction’ despite there being plenty surrounding the station!
Both sons have been over from the UK searching – first Wayne with his wife Louise, pictured with a poster outside the Pueblo Hotel where someone thought they had seen him. His other son Lee returned back to the UK with his best friend Danny, literally heartbroken on Wednesday night following 7 long days of fruitless searching.
He said that this is completely out of character for his father… and he should know as he lives with him and his son.” He is used to being with people so may well have befriended someone”. His favourite food is fish and chips and chicken so they have been concentrating on bars and restaurants serving these. There have been a few random unsubstantiated reports of Phil being spotted – one was in the old town then a few hours later at the Rincon end of Benidorm.
One thing that Lee is fairly certain of is that he won’t be in the blue stripped polo top shown on some of the posters dotted around. That is a rather old picture and a better one of him, one used for his passport which was new in June you can see here. He has been through his father’s suitcase, which he helped to pack and mentioned that he left wearing his black leather slip on shoes as they are missing, but in the current warm weather may well have gone and bought a pair of flip flops. In this instance he said that his father only has one distinguishing mark – on his right foot. “He has an ingrowing toenail on the outside which almost resembles a double big toe”- certainly worth looking out for perhaps. He does not have any tattoos.
Lee said that his father is still working and as far as he is aware, happy with no obviously worries, making this situation even harder to bear. Wayne is flying back to Benidorm on Monday with his wife to carry on searching. Ian Liddle-Grainger, their local MP for Bridgewater and West Somerset has been very supportive, liaising with the police and foreign office, trying to put pressure on the consulate and authorities here in Spain.
Lee left very deflated at the lack of police action or searches but praised the British ex-pat community for their support. In fact, a search went out at 6.30am on Friday morning, organised by Benidorm’s British Businesses Association. Please continue to keep a lookout, remembering that he may now look very different – dishevelled and tanned from being outside.
For those that are worried about spouses, parents or friends, particularly if they do suffer from memory loss, dementia etc then why not put on one of those plastic bracelet bands, like in hospitals or at an all-inclusive with their name and a contact number. From a British perspective it is certainly very disappointing how the police deal with missing people here but everyone will carry on searching and praying.