Murder probe reveals 'dark and dangerous world' of modern slavery

Ricardas Puisys

Ricardas Puisys was last seen at the leek factory in Chatteris where he worked. His five year disappearance sparked a major murder hunt. But then it took an unexpected twist. 24 Hours in Police Custody reminds us of the story. - Credit: Cambs Police

“Disturbing details about the dark and dangerous world of modern slavery in Cambridgeshire” were revealed during a five-year police probe into a missing man from Wisbech.  

The “missing presumed dead investigation” will be the focus of Monday’s (April 5) latest 24 Hours in Police Custody episode. 

‘The no body murder’ episode follows the case of a Lithuanian man, Ricardas Puisys who was last seen in September 2015 before completely vanishing without a trace from his home in Wisbech. 

Initial concerns for Ricardas’ safety were raised in late August 2015 when it was suggested to police he was being exploited and had moved addresses within Wisbech. 

At this time, he worked at Nightlayer Leek Company in Dean Drove, Chatteris, through an agency. 


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He worked on Saturday, September 26 2015 and this was the last confirmed and corroborated sighting of him alive and well. 

Suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys shared this photo on July 18 on Facebook. Picture: Ricardas Later that same evening he was believed to be in the company of a small group of Lithuanian men, but then vanished. 

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Police say he did not return to work on Monday, September 28 2015 as expected, but believed Ricardas made the decision to run away as he had been a victim of crime, having previously been subject to exploitation. 

“A team of investigators worked tirelessly following up a number of inquiries, none leading to the discovery of Ricardas,” said a police spokesperson. 

That was until they received information that Ricardas may have been alive and still in the Wisbech area. 

Wooded area in Harecroft Road, Wisbech where suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys was found alive

Wooded area in Harecroft Road, Wisbech where suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys was found alive by police.

Following a search of wooded area in Harecroft Road, Ricardas was found living in undergrowth, very well concealed after having deliberately hidden and having not spoken with anyone for some time. 

Police said they made the decision not to publicly announce they had found Ricardas alive until some months later to protect him and put safeguarding measures in place. 

The Major Crime Unit who discovered Ricardas, who was 35 at the time he went missing, may have been the victim of a serious assault in the hours before his disappearance. 

Their main line of enquiry was that he has been murdered. 

The five-year investigation began with key searches to discover the whereabouts of Ricardas’s body until the case took an unexpected turn and the team were given some hope, he may be alive. 

Superintendent Adam Gallop, who led the murder investigation, said: “While I always hoped we would find Ricardas alive all the evidence led us to believe it was highly unlikely. 

Suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys has been found alive in Wisbech, police have revealed. Pictu

Suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys was found alive in Wisbech, police have revealed. - Credit: Archant/Archive

“Given the fact no one had seen or heard from him our searches were focused on looking for his body and those responsible for his death. 

“He had literally vanished and no one ever saw him again.” 

Three years into the investigation the case took an unusual turn when officers discovered a Facebook page had been set up by someone claiming to be Ricardas.   

“The team were then faced with the difficult task of identifying the owner of the account and finally finding Ricardas, with new hope that he may be alive.  

Suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys has been found alive in Wisbech, police have revealed. Pictu

Suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys has been found alive in Wisbech, police have revealed. - Credit: Archant/Archive

Superintendent Gallop added: “This was one of the most unusual cases I have ever led. We had strong evidence to suggest Ricardas had been murdered and there was no trace of him after September 2015. 

“When we found the Facebook page it gave us hope but it still took time and a great deal of good detective work to discover the truth behind Ricardas disappearance and finally locate him.” 

Wooded area in Harecroft Road, Wisbech where suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys was found alive

Wooded area in Harecroft Road, Wisbech where suspected murder victim Ricardas Puisys was found alive by police. - Credit: Terry Harris/BAV Media

Tune in to Channel 4 for 24 Hours in Police Custody at 9pm on Monday (April 5). 

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