The “unknown man” who was thought to have been spotted in a hospital in the devastated Thai resort of Khao Lak with Kristian Walker, a twelve year old Swedish boy, has been identified.
“There has been a misunderstanding,” Chaiyapong Kanai of Phuket police told the news agency TT.
Kristian, his brother and sister were on holiday in Thailand with their mother and her boyfriend, when the tsunami struck. Kristian’s siblings survived the disaster and are now back with their father in Stockholm but his mother, Madeleine Walker, and her boyfriend are still missing.
Witnesses at the hospital in Khao Lak said that Kristian also survived and that he was accompanied by a man of European appearance.
On Wednesday the man, a German called Stefan Kaiser, spoke to police who now believe that the boy was not Kristian.
“The doctor said that he thinks all European children look the same,” said Chaiyapong Kanai.
According to Expressen, Kaiser, who lives in Thailand for six months a year, is one of the many volunteers who helped take children to a hospital outside Khao Lak.
“He was about 11 years old and completely alone,” said Kaiser. “I saw that he got medical care and then I took him home to stay with me and my family overnight.”
Kaiser explained that with the help of some Swedes he was able to return the boy to his mother.
Unfortunately the news means that Kristian is now listed among the missing.
But his grandfather, Daniel Walker, who travelled to Thailand with Kristian’s father to look for him, is not giving up hope. Despite the fact that Thai police have now ruled out a kidnapping, Daniel Walker is not convinced that Stefan Kaiser was the man the doctors saw.
“The doctors at the hospital have said that the unknown man had a moustache and was wearing a red shirt,” said Mr Walker. “That’s not Stefan Kaiser.”
“So long as there is a hope, I’m going to continue to try to find Kristian,” he said.