Local News

Customs Agents Reunite N.C. Man, Family

Posted April 23, 2008 4:46 p.m. EDT

— U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers helped reunite a Fayetteville man, who was found wandering around Dulles International Airport Sunday, with his family.

Jirpesh Patel, 37, was reported missing in Fayetteville on April 16.

Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority police officers found Patel at Dulles Sunday morning. He was unable to provide officers with his name or identification, saying only that a bag containing his IDs had been stolen and that he wanted to return to India, authorities said.

Interpreters with the Department of Homeland Security provided customs agents with several names Monday afternoon that Patel had given to them, authorities said. One matched the missing person report filed by Fayetteville police.

“He seemed genuinely unaware of who he was, and it was only through diligent investigative work by CBP Enforcement Officer Henry DeBlock that we were able to correctly identify him and tie him to a missing person’s report,” Michael Lovejoy, CBP director of Baltimore Field Operations.

Authorities were making arrangements Wednesday with Fayetteville police to return Patel to his family.