A Canadian man who disappeared five years ago is recovering in Toronto after finally being located in the Amazon in Brazil.
Anti-poverty campaigner Anton Pilipa, who suffers from suspected schizophrenia, went missing in March 2012 and walked an estimated 6,500 miles, mostly barefoot, before a police officer in Manaus, north-western Brazil, came to his rescue and miraculously managed to help contact his family back home.
Pilipa, now 39, originally set off from Toronto with the intention of going to the National Library of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
He travelled on foot and as a stowaway in trucks throughout the US, then Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Argentina – all without a passport or visas.
When he finally reached the library in Buenos Aires, he was turned away for not having ID and headed north into Brazil.
Pilipa was finally rescued in November 2016, after being spotted by Canadian-born Brazilian policewoman, Helenice Vidigal, who initially thought he was a local vagrant.
Although unable to provide much information, an exhausted Pilipa communicated he was from Canada —sparking an attempt by Vidigal to trace his family via social media.
Eventually, Brazilian officers contacted his brother Stefan, who, after starting a fundraising effort with the rest of the family to bring him home, had begun to believe he was dead.
However, celebrations were cut short when Pilipa fled hospital in Porto Velho, in the Amazon basin, and into a part of the jungle teeming with deadly spiders, snakes, jaguars and caiman crocodiles.
Pilipa was rescued a second time and Stefan was able to take him home to Toronto. Despite being arrested for fleeing assault and weapons charges in 2012, he has now been released to live with his brother – and take regular walks.
"He likes to walk, he needs to walk," Stefan told Mail Online. "I'm not interested in trying to curtail that. He's just got rules now. He has to be back by a certain time. We're just taking it one step at a time. He's been walking for a long time."