A distraught family has appealed to the public to help find Ratko Dujela, a 79-year-old man with dementia who went missing from a Melbourne hospital on Friday.
His stepdaughter said she had heard her mother, Helen Guenzi, 79, crying out in her sleep for Mr Dujela since he went missing.
“I do everything for him,” Ms Guenzi said. “We’re always together.”
She broke down as she begged for anyone who thinks they may have seen Mr Dujela to call the police.
“I’m worried,” she said. “I hope he comes back … I hope he’s alive.”
She said she and Mr Dujela loved to play the pokies and go to the pub — but that the family had checked the usual places.
Mr Dujela was admitted into Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne’s west on Thursday with what turned out to be a urine infection.
He went missing sometime between 2pm and 2.30pm on Friday and could not be found despite extensive efforts from the family and community, stepdaughter Jacinta Neralic said.
“We’ve had literally no sleep,” she said.
“We have spent three days driving around looking for him.
“I’ve approached businesses asking for CCTV footage … there’s just nothing.
“He could be anywhere.”
Victoria Police Sergeant Shayne Wallace said police held “grave concerns” for Mr Dujela as they searched the Brimbank area.
The St Albans man is believed to have last been wearing a tan shirt, jeans, and runners, and is described as being 198cm tall with a solid build and grey hair.
“Police are appealing to the public to keep a look out for Ratko, and if they do sight him to call triple-0,” Sergeant Wallace said.
“Especially anyone in the Brimbank area, we want you to keep an eye out.”
Ms Neralic said it was like Mr Dujela had “vanished into thin air”.
She said he had gone missing once before but was found after two hours.
“We’ve put it on social media but this time we’ve got nothing; there’s no sightings,” she said.
“He hasn’t eaten, he hasn’t had anything to drink, it’s cold at night, it’s hot during the day … and having dementia, he doesn’t know that he’s lost.”
Anyone who sees Mr Dujela or has information on his whereabouts is urged to contact police.