It’s been nearly a year since 84-year-old Youliang Lin, who has dementia, disappeared from his Sydney home.
On the morning of September 15, 2017, the “kind, quiet and peaceful” grandfather took himself for a walk just after breakfast.
On his stroll he ran into some friends, chatted for a while, then kept on walking. But sadly Youliang did not return to his Castle Hill home that day, and has not been seen since.
Youliang is one of thousands of people reported missing every year in Australia. Youliang’s granddaughter Helen describes the much-loved patriarch as a “kind, sweet, quiet and peaceful man” who was always putting people before himself.
With a large family of three children and seven grandchildren, Youliang enjoyed cooking meals they could all enjoy together whether it be in their small apartment back in China or in their residence in Castle Hill, Sydney.
No space was too small for the Lin family and Youliang was always taking in “stragglers” who he felt could enjoy his cooking and company.
Youliang is one of the 425,000 Australians living with dementia. Prior to his disappearance, he had gone wandering before.
Helen said her grandad would often enjoy a daily walk and would frequently walk to the shops. It was on some of these occasions that Youliang would become confused and unsure of his surroundings.
After this, the family decided to not allow Youliang to leave the house on his own, for his own safety.
Helen said after her granddad’s disappearance, the family was “really, touched, surprised and heartened” by the overwhelming support from the public, particularly the Australian/Chinese community.
Over 200 volunteers searched the nearby suburbs, bushland and national parks. One lady, not known to the family before Youliang’s disappearance, spent her days combing the streets for answers.
“The day he went missing he actually did run into some of his friends while he was walking but they didn’t realise what the situation was, so they didn’t see anything that was wrong,” said Helen.
Now her advice is to “take each day as it comes”. “You are not alone and there are others in a similar situation,” she said.
Can you help?
Youliang Lin was last seen about 8am on Friday September 15, 2017, when he left his home on Cooper Court, Castle Hill.
There are serious concerns for the safety and welfare of Mr Lin as he suffers dementia and does not speak English.
He is of Asian appearance, about 175cm tall, with a slim build. He has short grey hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black jumper and black long pants.
If you have information that may help police find Youliang call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
National Missing Persons Week
This week is the 30th anniversary of National Missing Persons Week. It runs from August 5 to 11.
Every year around 38,000 people are reported missing nationally.
Of these, there are 2,600 long-term missing people listed on the Australian Federal Police’s missing persons register — and police say many of them have left families stuck in limbo, unable to find closure.
For more details go to missingpersons.gov.au