Conn. Teacher Who Was Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms Remains Missing After 2 Months


A Connecticut man remains missing two months after leaving his parents' home in the early hours of his 50th birthday.

Gil Cunha, a teacher whose family says had been experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) prior to his disappearance, was last seen on May 7 in the West Shore neighborhood of West Haven, Conn., according to the West Haven Police Department.

Police issued a Silver Alert for Cunha on May 8, describing him in a news release as being 5'10" and approximately 175 lbs. Authorities said in the alert that Cunha had a bald shaved head and full beard and mustache when he went missing, and was was last seen wearing a gray and blue windbreaker with either a red or green bandana as a face covering.

His cousin, Lori Kenney, told recently NBC's Dateline that Cunha's father saw him watching TV between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. However, when his mother woke up the next morning, Cunha was missing.

“It wasn’t unusual for Gil to go out for a walk,” Kenney said. "But when he didn’t return later that day, she knew something was wrong. He wouldn’t just take off without contacting his family."

Cunha's loved ones now worry that his disappearance may be linked to coronavirus. Though Cunha was never tested, his family said that he "wasn’t feeling well" and was in self-isolation for three weeks before he went missing.

“If something happened to him because of the virus, or if he harmed himself, or even if someone did something to him, we would still find him. But he’s just gone without a trace," Kenney told Dateline.

She also said that Cunha left behind two cell phones, credit and debit cards, cash and passport "as if he intended to come back." The only possession that appears to be missing is Cunha's driver's license, according to Kenney.

The family previously told the New Haven Register that Cunha had stopped self-isolating two weeks before his disappearance, but seemed dazed and struggled with eating and sleeping once out of quarantine. His relatives also noticed that he lost interest in things he normally loved, the newspaper reported.

Cunha had been living in Europe with his wife of five years before his move back to the United States following his divorce, his family said. He was a teacher while overseas and had taken graduate courses at a university in Portugal.

According to Dateline, Cunha moved in with his parents in November and was working as a teacher for the West Haven Public School system until school shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“One of Gil's greatest concerns was for those of his students who rely on getting breakfast and lunch meals from school,” his cousin told the outlet. “He told me, ‘Sadly, these students still need to eat’ and he was worried about how the students would have access to these meals during the state's mandated closing. Gil's concern for this, speaks to his integrity and how he genuinely cares for his students.”

Cunha's relatives said that they've posted more than 400 fliers and hired private drone operators and cadaver canines in search of their missing family member, but nothing has come up so far.

“We just feel as though we have exhausted our local efforts at this point,” Cunha's cousin Bob Tavares said. “We’re hoping by spreading the word, someone who knows something will come forward with information. We just want to bring him home.”

Those with information regarding Cunha's whereabouts are asked to contact the West Haven Police Department at 203-937-3900.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Source: Read Full Article