By LUCY ORMONDE
I first met Loren O’Keeffe in January of 2007. We were both studying abroad for six months at a Japanese university.
We weren’t particularly close, but as two of just a handful of Australians in the small town, we’d sometimes share an Asahi beer and talk about life back home.
Once we’d returned from Japan, I didn’t hear from Lauren until late July of 2011, until a desperate Facebook post caught my attention.
Lauren’s younger brother Dan was missing…
Dan was 24 years old when he disappeared.
On Friday morning he was talking to his dad in the kitchen of the family’s Geelong home. A few minutes later he was gone. And none of his loved ones knew where.
At 10.00pm that night, the family officially registered Dan as a Missing Person.
“He was last seen wearing a grey hooded jumper, light pants and ugg boots,” they wrote. That text formed the basis of Missing Person posters that were distributed via social media to friends and family members around the state.
At the time that Dan disappeared, I was working for a newspaper in the south-west region of Victoria. Police believed Dan might have travelled in that direction; that he could be sleeping in an abandoned farm shed or seeking refuge in a homeless shelter. So I contacted Loren to see if there was anything the newspaper could do to help.
Over the next few weeks, we ran stories appealing to the locals to keep an eye out for Dan.