Max Vidar CASTOR
Date of Birth: 1985
Build: Thin muscular
Hair: Blonde, shoulder length
Complexion: Fair, possibly tanned
Max was last seen around the Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay areas in May. There was an unconfirmed sighting in early June. The person saw Max hitching and picked him up. He (if it was Max) said he was heading to Cowra.
What is being asked of people is that if he is seen, try and get him talking and try and confirm it is Max. Don't ask him directly, just ask where he's from and where he's been visiting and check the photo carefully. If Max needs help please help him - give him a bed and some food and his friends and family will reimburse you any costs, when last seen Max looked pretty rough and we think he just needs some help. He's a very nice guy just going through a rough patch, he needs our help.
Where is my son? Swedish man's plea to the people of South West Victoria
Thursday, 5 May 2005
Presenter: Steve Martin
The strange disappearance of a Swedish backpacker inspires a desperate plea from his parents for help from the public.
The worried family of missing 20-year-old Swedish backpacker Max Castor hopes his towering 189cm height and wild blond hair will help the public to locate him and put an end to their sleepless nights.
"He looks like a Greek God in some way," says Max's father, Rolf Castor.
Max last contacted his family during a visit to the Victorian town of Warrnambool in March, where he sent a cryptic note back to his home in Sweden.
Stating only that "..something strange had happened to him.." the note was sent along with all of his belongings as well as all his money and his return ticket to Sweden.
Local police have searched caravan parks from Warrnambool to Geelong and found nothing so far; there is no evidence nor suggestion of foul play at this point.
At home in Hagersten, his sister, brother and parents hope the young man is just doing some soul searching and has not fallen in with a cult.
"Well he is a young boy that has just left school, and he is thinking what he should do with the rest of his life and maybe he is very tired of the Western society of the superficial life of just consuming things," Mr Castor said.
The last confirmed sighting of the backpacker was at the Wye River General Store on April 5.
Mr Castor says he is considering taking up offers of accommodation in South West Victoria to find his son who planned to travel the country for a year.
If you have any information that can help find Max Castor please contact Warrnambool police station on (03) 5560 1333
"It's like you put a wet blanket over everything," Mr Castor explained.
Speaking from his home in Sweden, Mr Castor said he still held hope that his son Max, who was last sighted in Warrnambool five years ago, would one day return home to his family.
"My position today is that he lives a good life in your country."
Max disappeared on April 1, 2005 during a back-packing trip around Australia.
After last being sighted in Warrnambool, there were several unconfirmed sightings of the then 25-year-old along the Great Ocean Road and into the Otways, but his last known contact with his family was on April 21, 2005, when he sent an email to his family.
On the same day his brother in Sweden received a parcel containing Max's personal belongings, money and a letter.
He was last seen wearing a blue windcheater, white t-shirt, jeans and carrying a light blue backpack and a multi coloured clutch bag.
The case has been highlighted as part of National Missing Persons Week in the hopes that new information may come to light.
His father told The Standard that he spent the first few years actively looking for Max with the support of the Victorian police force, the Swedish embassy and consulates, the Swedish church abroad, the Salvation Army and many individuals.
"None of this have given any result and, to keep my mind healthy, I have changed position a little.
"So today, Max comes up in my head a few times a week and, especially when I visit places connected to Max, I may get a little moist in the eye wrinkle."
Mr Castor said he acknowledged that Max was an adult who, for some reason, had chosen to break contact with his family and friends.
His search now revolves around contacting Swedish tourists planning a long-term stay in Australia and who are about the same age as Max, asking them to keep their eyes open.
"Maybe 100 to 150 have been contacted and maybe some have seen Max but they were not quite sure.
"Somewhere along the east coast (one) went out for food and was joined by a man, obviously a Swede looking like Max, but not talking about himself ."
Mr Castor said his family often spoke about Max: "We have somewhat different opinions about what happened."
"A peculiar feeling is Max's niece and nephew, who were born after we lost contact, slowly getting aware that they have an uncle and asking questions like where does he eat, where does he sleep (and) does he have a blanket and pillow?
"(These are) important questions when you are three or four years old."
But what does Mr Castor believe of Max's fate?
"My opinion is that he is alive, living in some kind alternative non-commercial society practising some craft.
"Max is very clever in learning practical skills and crafts he picked up a lot from my grandfather and myself, like painting, gardening woodworking (and) work at the anvil.
All (of this) is so obvious to him you just need to show (him) once and then he masters and improves.
Mr Castor believes Max has probably changed his name as he has no valid visa in Australia. He also thinks he may be living in a relationship and may have a child as he was very fond of children.
He realises that his son may be keeping a low-profile: "He is aware that I have been looking and that if he passes a border, the interpol alarm system may sound."
"I check with his friends now and then and most believe he is alive but they are a little concerned that they have not heard anything.
"Then, of course, there is the possibility of a desert accident like a poisonous snake or thirst. He is trained in outdoor living, but your nature may be harder than ours or unfamiliar."
He hopes that as Max gets older he will one day contact his family in Sweden - perhaps as his own children start questioning their background.
Mr Castor is now praying that he will still be alive himself to see that day.
Dad of missing backpacker holds hope
Carl Dickens | August 24th, 2010 - Geelong Advertiser
FIVE years after his son vanished without a trace on Victoria's south-west coast, Swede Rolf Castor remains hopeful his son is still alive.
Max Castor, then 20, disappeared during a back-packing trip around Australia on April 1, 2005, after last being sighted around the Great Ocean Road and the Otways. He was in Geelong before he closed his bank account, and on March 31 2005, mailed his family in Sweden a package including his return air ticket, belongings and a letter declaring his intention to vanish.
Speaking from his home near Stockholm, Rolf Castor yesterday likened the gut-wrenching feeling of his son's loss to "putting a wet blanket over everything".
He has spent years working with police, Swedish embassy and consulates and hundreds of individuals trying to find Max, to no avail. He said he was slowly accepting the realisation that his son may have shown his distaste for Western culture by joining an underground group and did not want to be found.
"I still have a decent amount of hope that Max is alive," Mr Castor said. "I've worked on my fear by thinking that he may have chosen something, perhaps some kind of self-sufficient, non-commercial group. He was always good in the garden and good with practical skills and he learns things quickly.
"His brother and sister have both since had children, so now he has a niece and nephew back home who are learning they have an uncle but don't understand why he's not around."
Mr Castor issued another plea for Max to give his family a sign of life. "Please just give us a sign so we know you are ok. You don't need to disclose information about where you are, it doesn't matter. And of course, you will always be welcome back home."
He was 20 at the time and travelling around Australia.
After being seen in Warrnambool, there were several unconfirmed sightings along the Great Ocean Road and into the Otways, and his last known contact with his family was on April 21, 2005, when he sent an email.
On the same day his brother in Sweden received a parcel containing Max’s personal belongings, money and a letter.
He was last seen wearing a blue windcheater, white T-shirt, jeans, carrying a light blue backpack and a multi-coloured clutch bag.
Detective Senior Constable Dannielle O’Keefe led the investigation into his disappearance in Warrnambool at the time and said she wished she could report a happy ending.
She said police had asked for DNA from Max’s family but it was a procedural process undertaken in missing person cases to ensure an efficient match.
“At this point in time we’ve exhausted all avenues in terms of leads,” she said.
“I keep in regular contact with Max’s father Rolf and his family. We’d love for information that would lead to something more.
“For the family it’s extremely difficult. They have no control over their environment and are relying on someone to provide information.
“They’re a delightful family and they’re desperate for their son to come home.
“We would love a happy ending but it’s not the case unless there is more information that comes forward.”
For Max’s family life goes on despite a sadness hanging over them.
Next week his father Rolf will undergo heart surgery.
Speaking from Sweden, Rolf said he kept in touch with Max’s friends, who were now starting their own families.
“It’s like a type of sadness that is always there,” he said.
Rolf said there was a strong belief that Max was still alive and living in Australia.
“My hope that is that he has a good life in your country and that maybe when he has his own family he will make new contact with us,” he said.
Mr Castor said Max had nieces and nephews who were asking about him and revealed he had inherited money, which may be of use to him.
He pleaded that if anyone knew where Max was or saw him to ask him to call home.