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Search for cyclist continues

A search for Michael John Latsky, who mysteriously disappeared nearly three months ago, was launched from the whale lookout point outside Gordon’s Bay on Sunday (26 July).

The operation comes after the 43-year-old left his Somerset West residence and never returned after going for a bicycle ride around 17:00 on Thursday 14 May. Latsky has not been seen or heard of since.

The bicycle, however, was recovered in the vicinity of the lookout point where the search was initiated at the weekend.

Representatives of the Western Cape Missing Persons Unit, relatives, acquaintances, fellow churchgoers and Maryke van Rooy of Gordon’s Bay Patrols, gathered in the parking area for a moment of prayer before embarking on the search, which included the use of a search and rescue drone over the vast, inaccessible mountainous area.

According to Van Rooy, the search was organised in hope of finding Latsky, who was allegedly seen by a seaside resident the day after he went missing. She said the resident allegedly claimed Latsky was seen playing with the family dog and offered to assist with hanging the washing before disappearing up the ravine that Friday.

“Latsky’s helmet, keys and sunglasses were apparently found under a tree where he allegedly spent a night,” she said. “It is said his pocket knife was also found after he allegedly left it behind at the resident’s house.”

Van Rooy said Latsky’s cellphone was pinged numerous times at a farm in the Parel Vallei area, Krystal Beach Hotel and Dirkie Uys Street before it died.

She further addressed claims that Latsky had been seen around the Helderberg and had possibly fallen into street life following his disappearance as probably being a case of mistaken identity. She explained there is a homeless man who resembles Latsky and is often seen around Strand.

“His whole disappearance is a mystery. Is it that he was possibly the victim of foul play, something happened and he got seriously hurt? Or is it that he is alive and does not want to be found? No-one knows. But we owe it to him and his family to initiate a proper search.”

Although the weekend’s search was unsuccessful, Van Rooy said she hoped to initiate another search with more support from the community.

Latsky’s recently wedded spouse Valerie, who was in Randburg, Gauteng, initially agreed to an email interview with DistrictMail at the weekend. However, in response she sent a message on Monday morning, saying: “My son was in an accident last night and taken to hospital. I will be withdrawing for a while and will not be speaking to the press. Thank you for your interest in Michael’s disappearance.”

According to the Pink Ladies organisation for missing persons alert, Latsky was last seen wearing his cycling gear, black cycling shorts, a black and blue cycling top, black cycling shoes and a grey helmet.

According to Sergeant Suzan Jantjies, spokesperson for Somerset West police, the investigation and search for Latsky is ongoing.“On Sunday, detectives visited the place where the missing person was last seen in Gordon’s Bay, but nothing was found,” she said.

“The investigation is still continuing. No new leads were discovered on Sunday. The personal belongings found on the scene were handed to his wife.”

. Anyone with possible leads or information that could aid the investigation can phone Detective Sergeant Elaine Pillay on 021 850 1366.

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