A Livingston man whose been missing for about three years was found this week in Modesto, Livingston police said Friday.
Davinder Singh Bhangu, 57, who was officially reported missing in April 2015 was found on Wednesday in a Modesto health care facility, according to police.
His family actually lost contact with him in November 2014, according to his niece, Kiran Samran. Her uncle had sporadic contact with his family and battled with alcoholism, she said.
With the help of ambulance personnel, police determined he was in Livingston without any possessions when he was struck by a car, causing a spinal cord injury and memory loss, Samran said.
"He went through a major surgery that actually left him paraplegic," she told the Sun-Star. "He was in the process of recovering from that, and it did affect his memory as well."
Bhangtu has started to regain his memory during the past year, she said.
Her uncle has been a Livingston resident for at least a decade, but had been mostly estranged from his ex-wife and two children, she said. He was staying with friends at the time of the accident.
Family routinely checked with police to ask for news on Bhangtu. "We had not lost hope," Samran said. "One way or another, we wanted to know: Where is he? Even if he was no more, it would provide some closure."
Livingston Police Detective Jason Barkus said he used information from local ambulance service workers to determine Bhangtu was in the Modesto health care facility, where he was being cared for. Local police and ambulance personnel were familiar with Bhangtu before the accident, Barkus said.
"He's probably put on 50 pounds," he said. "He's healthy. He looks good."
Barkus said police make routine calls to check on missing people.
His family has since been able to reconnect with him, Samran said, adding her uncle has many challenges ahead. The discovery was met with "a lot of emotion," she said.
It won't be easy to learn to live with disabilities, and to adjust emotionally to regaining his memory, she said.
"It's a lot for him to process," she said. "But, of course, we're super happy that he's OK, but he's in a different condition. So it's like mixed emotions."
"He would have killed himself drinking like he was," she continued. "It's almost like God's given him a second life."