The search ends as missing family returns home.jpg

The search ends as missing family returns home


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THE MYSTERY disappearance of a Luso-Canadian family, who were reported missing from their home near Lagoa by a neighbour and work colleague on December 2, was finally uncovered five days later when the family contacted the authorities.

Missing mother Carla Gomes contacted the GNR on Sunday, December 7 to say there had been a misunderstanding and that she and her family were actually on holiday in the eastern Algarve.

Carla, who is an associate of Remax real estate agency in Albufeira, her husband Jonathan Heart and their two children, CJ, aged nine, and Justin, aged six, were reported missing from their home in Areais de Porches, in the Lagoa council on Tuesday, December 2.  

At the time of the family’s disappearance, several unsuccessful attempts were made by friends, the authorities and The Resident to contact the family. As a result, fears were growing for the family’s welfare.

A GNR spokesman told The Resident: “We were contacted by a work colleague of the woman.”

He added: “The GNR visited the couple’s house on Thursday, December 4, in Areias de Porches and also another property they have in Aljezur, which they were trying to sell.”

A neighbour of the couple in Areias da Porches, who asked not to be named, told The Resident: “On Sunday, my children went to ask if CJ and Justin could come out to play, but Jonathan said that they were going to their home in Aljezur to collect some Christmas decorations and other things. We haven’t seen them since and are becoming very worried.”

The neighbour added that the international school of Porches was contacted on Wednesday, December 3, by a man who said that CJ and Justin Heart would not be attending because the family were going to Canada for two or three weeks. The Resident was unable to confirm with the school whether the call was made by the father.


According to Rui Santos, neighbour and work colleague of Carla Gomes, it was very out of character of her to leave business issues unattended and not answer work calls. “The only clue to the family’s disappearance was two 200 euro withdrawals from a cash machine along Avenida dos Descobrimentos in Lagos,” he said, adding that he had also contacted the Portuguese consulate in Toronto, Canada, where Carla’s parents were thought to reside, however he was told by the consul that they have no records of the family after 2002.

The mystery was solved after Carla Gomes made contact with GNR officers in Castro Marim near the small town of Altura in the Algarve to say the family was staying on holiday in a local hotel.

GNR officers were sent to the hotel and confirmed this was indeed the family and Carla Gomes is reported as saying that this was nothing more than a misunderstanding.

A spokesman from Eurotel in Altura, the hotel where the family were staying, told The Resident: “The family stayed at the hotel for three days and left on Sunday. They exited through the rear of the hotel and left in their car.”

At the time that The Resident went to press, the family were at their home in Areias de Porches. Work colleague Rui Santos confirmed this: “They are at home, but I have not spoken to them since they arrived. Carla has not telephoned her colleagues or been to the Remax office. I don’t know whether she will continue working for the company.”

The International School of the Algarve declined to comment on whether the children had returned to school.

The Resident attempted to contact the couple for a comment about the strange occurrence, but, at the time of going to press, the couple’s mobile telephones were switched off.

The story made national news and was widely reported in the daily newspaper Correio da Manhã.

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