The father of a teenage backpacker who mysteriously vanished in regional Victoria more than a decade ago has died after years of tirelessly searching for clues into his son’s disappearance.
Rolf Castor’s son Max went missing in April 2005, five months after he arrived in Australia from Sweden at the tender age of 19.
His son’s disappearance without a trace prompted a personal mission from the father, who spent the next 15 years ensuring no stone went unturned.
“He never gave up hope of finding my brother,” Rolf’s daughter Olu Castor told Yahoo News Australia.
Max was last seen at Port Campbell near the coastal town of Warrnambool where he had sent by post all his belongings, including his passport and return ticket to Sweden, back home. He had also closed his bank account.
Among the items sent was a note, written in English, that gave Rolf a sense of belief, with the father adamant his son was still alive, possibly living a life off the land.
“Something strange has happened to me and I don’t know how to cope with it,” the note read.
“I am tired of myself but there is still so much beauty in the world. Now I am vanishing … no tears.”
A thorough and prolonged investigation from Victoria Police found nothing of his whereabouts, and as the years passed, Rolf’s burning questions went unanswered.
Yet Rolf never lost hope of finding a lead into his son’s whereabouts, and actively searched for his son from afar with the assistance of a Facebook group he set up specifically about Max’s case.
The father would spend hours daily going through potential leads into Max’s case and received hundreds of messages over the years, albeit all of which would turn out to be dead ends.
In a tragic development at the end of May, Rolf passed away suddenly in his sleep at the age of 77, Olu revealed.
He died never knowing what happened to his son – or whether he is even still alive.
Rolf continuously harboured the belief Max had opted for a new life, away from the hustle and bustle of modern day society.
“I believe he has found some type of other community and could be living off the land, maybe even with a wife and kid… I wouldn’t be the least bit astonished,” Rolf told Yahoo News Australia in 2018.
Heartbreaking last message to son
In his last public post in the Facebook group dedicated to finding Max, Rolf wished his son a happy 35th birthday.
“If you are out there and see this you can get in touch!” Rolf wrote just a month before his death.
Max’s siblings have now inherited the Facebook page from their father and will continue to administer the page, Olu confirmed.
“We would like to officially thank Victoria Police, [investigators] Danielle and Chris, and all Australians that have been helping us through the last 15 years,” she said.
A memorial will be held for Rolf in the Swedish town of Viken on July 18.
Olu said What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong will be played and those in attendance will “remember the good things in life”.
A Victoria Police spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that while there have been no developments in Max’s case, investigations by the Warrnambool Crime Investigation Unit detectives are ongoing.
If you have information that may assist police in their investigations into Max’s disappearance please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.