A Canadian man who has been missing for five years has been found more than 6,500 miles away in the Amazon jungle.
Anton Pilipa trekked across two continents, walking mostly barefoot with just the clothes on his back, after he disappeared from his Vancouver home in 2012.
His family spent years desperately searching for the former humanitarian worker, who suffers from suspected schizophrenia, and had almost given up hope when they got a call out of the blue.
A Canadian-born Brazilian cop spotted Pilipa, who she initially mistook for a beggar, shuffling down a dirt track in bare feet, and dirty, unwashed Bermuda shorts and a vest. He had no passport, without without any form of identification.
Incredibly, with help of several international agencies and embassies, she was able to track down his family who flew down to be reunited with their lost loved one.
Recovered: Anton Pilipa trekked across two continents, walking mostly barefoot with just the clothes on his back
'I was stunned,' Anton's brother Stefan told the DailyMail.com. 'I told myself that he was dead. Because that was the only thing I could come up with that explained his absence.
'But in my heart of hearts, I didn't think he could be. '
'I was really shocked,' added Stefan, who said he'd spent years asking himself the same question, ''Where is he? What happened to him?'
'I feel amazed that he's alive and had made it that far.'
Anton, who has been placed back on his schizophrenia medication, traveled through at least ten countries from Canada, including the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil - all without a passport and with little more than the clothes in his back.
His brother said he had one bizarre mission; to get to the National Library of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Tragically, when he finally made it to the library, after walking thousands of miles, he was turned away because he didn't have any identification. So he turned around and began his trek into Brazil where he would eventually be found.
He described how he survived by picking fruits and berries, scrounging for food and clothes in the trash, and relied on the generosity of strangers.
But that's not to say times weren't tough. Anton started off with a small bag of belongings but was robbed of what little he did have on several occasions during his trek.
While walking 800km alone through the dangerous Amazon jungle, filled with poisonous spiders, snakes, caiman - which can grow up to 20ft long and jaguar - all his toenails dropped off.
Yet, while he met some 'bad people' on his incredible 10,000 mile journey, he said he had 'received more generosity, especially in recent times.'
'I've never felt alone,' he said. 'It's been a lot of thinking for years, sleeping in the open. It's very simple to live, we do not need many things.'
But after years on the road, Stefan said he was shocked by his brother's appearance.
'He looked pretty rough,' he said after flying out to Manaus last month to collect his brother. 'The rigors of his journey took a toll on his body and face. And he had a lot more hair than last time I saw him.'
The married dad said his brother's health was starting to deteriorate in the Brazilian mental institute where he was being held waiting for his family to collect him.
'We got him just in time.'
|Reunited at last: Stefan sees his lost brother Anton again for the first time in five years in Manaus, Brazil|
While Anton walked most of the 10,000 mile trip, he would occasionally get a ride or stowaway in a truck.
But mostly, he kept himself to himself, barely speaking to another human being in five years. He still speaks almost no Spanish or Portuguese.
Anton, who was described as an individualist, was diagnosed with schizophrenia several years ago but his family say they struggled to find him the help he required in the two years before his disappearance.
Before his illness, he had worked all over Canada for humanitarian relief organizations.
In 2011, he finally began treatment for his mental illness but that same year, he was involved in an incident which resulted in him being charged with assault and weapons offences.
He fled the country in 2012 before he was due to appear in court.
And despite his incredible journey, he will still have to answer those charges. After he arrived back in Toronto on Monday he was arrested before being released on bail.
However Stefan says he doesn't believe the court appearance was the reason for his brother's disappearance.
'The timing is suspect,' he admitted. 'But was he trying to avoid (the charges)?
Via - Dailymail