Missing Special Olympics athlete turns up 350 miles away

Author: associated press
Published: Updated:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – An Albanian athlete who disappeared from the Special Olympics in Los Angeles turned up safe early Monday 350 miles away in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Andi Gusmari, 44, came to the Hayward Police Department on his own around 2 a.m. Monday and used a lobby phone to contact a dispatcher, acting Lt. Guy Jakub said.

Gusmari, who had his documents with him, was safe and comfortable but police were not able to communicate very well with him because of his speech disability, Jakub said.

Gusmari, a bowling competitor, disappeared from the University of Southern California sometime after 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

He apparently took a bus to Northern California, said Jeff Carr, chief operating officer of the Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee.

“We are delighted that Andi is safe,” Carr said in a statement.

The athlete’s family members were notified, and he has spoken to them, said Rich Perelman, a spokesman for the LA 2015 games.

A Special Olympics staff member was sent to help Gusmari get back to Los Angeles and then to Albania.

Some 6,500 athletes from around the world took part in the Special Olympics, which used venues around the Los Angeles area.

The participants said goodbye Sunday in an emotional closing ceremony at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the centerpiece of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.

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