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Family of St Andrews student missing in Nepal still hold out hope of closure

Zisimos Souflas, who went missing almost nine years ago.
Zisimos Souflas, who went missing almost nine years ago.

The sister of a former St Andrews University student who mysteriously disappeared while travelling in Nepal says she has not given up hope of finding him.

Sophie Souflas is determined to keep her brother Zisimos in the public’s eye, despite it being almost nine years since the 27-year-old vanished in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Zis, as he was affectionately known, was a popular student during his time at St Andrews and was a senior student of St Regulus Hall and an active member of the athletics team.

He also ran a unique campaign for Student Association President in 2010 under the slogan ‘the naked president’, which saw him posing for a series of posters in the nude.

Zis was last seen on April 23, 2012, after reportedly leaving a hotel in the town of Namche Bazaar, and many believe he had set off for an acclimatization day in preparation for a trek to Mount Everest base camp.

However, no trace of him has ever been found since, despite extensive searches and his family even hiring a private investigator.

Sophie remains steadfast in her determination to raise awareness of her brother’s disappearance and also to highlight the dangers of solo trekking abroad.

“We are keeping the faith,” she said.

“We just don’t know what happened.

“Someone said to me once, don’t grieve if you don’t have to because you should not put yourself through that.

“The only next step would be getting cadaver dogs, but they cost thousands of pounds and, because of the terrain, the prospect of success is not great.

“It would, however, give the possibility of closure.

“It’s something that should be considered, as the last thing we can do.”

Family first became worried when Zis failed to return home to Sheffield on a booked flight on May 15.

He had travelled to Nepal for a friend’s wedding but stayed on to do volunteer work and was planning to climb Mount Everest.

“We last had contact with him on April 16 (2012), but decided to wait until his flight before we started worrying,” Sophie explained.

“Zisimos, although always travelling, was very good at sticking to plans and keeping us up to date if anything changed.

“However, it wasn’t unusual for Zisimos to be travelling by himself at all, he was a frequent solo traveller.

“He would meet up with fellow travellers and make friends in the hostels, but he would travel predominantly alone.”

Police in Nepal have tracked his final movements to April 24 when he checked into the Tibet Hotel and spent the night before leaving his belongings, promising to return in a few days.

He was planning to head to the Mount Everest base camp but it is still unclear whether he made it to the mountains.

Murder has not been ruled out, however authorities think an accident is more likely.

Advice published on the UK Government’s website says to never trek alone in Nepal, always use a reputable agency and remain on established hiking routes.

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