Scottish mother’s shock when her ‘dead’ son turns up alive in hospital in France

The last Joyce Curtis heard from her son Nicholas, he was hitchhiking through France and Spain. Photo / 123rf

A mother who assumed her son was dead after he went missing more than a decade ago has shared her surprise to discover he is alive and well.

Joyce Curtis believed her son Nicholas had passed away because she had not seen or heard from him since 2010.

The last she knew, he was hitchhiking through France and Spain, but when she heard nothing from him, she thought he had died and even “cried for him”.

But on December 19, she received a phone call informing her that her son was alive and in a hospital in the south of France.

“When I received the call to say that he was alive, I was in shock. All I did was cry all day,” she said.

“This just made my Christmas happy, especially since my husband died in June.

It’s like that movie Miracle on 34th street. It’s like a miracle.


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“I resigned myself to the fact that he had died. I really thought that and I think everyone else thought the same thing.”

Nicholas left his hometown of Glasgow, Lanarkshire, in the mid-2000s to travel across Europe after losing his job as a carpenter.

He told his mother that he had been hitchhiking and Curtis believed that he had spent some time living on the streets of Paris.

She reported him missing in 2009 because she hadn’t heard from her son “for years.”

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A year later, the British consulate in Paris contacted Curtis to notify him that Nicholas had been admitted to a hospital in France.


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Then she and her husband flew to visit him, but that was the last time she had seen or heard from him for more than a decade.

“I received a letter in 2010 to say that Nicholas was in a hospital in France,” Joyce said. “He had been missing for a while by then.

“I had already reported him missing here in Glasgow the year before after not hearing from him in years and years.”

She and her husband arranged transport to bring Nicholas home, but he did not board his return flight to Glasgow and disappeared again.

“I was waiting for him to come home and there was no sign,” she said.

“When I visited him in France, I bought him some shoes and things like that so he could have clothes to travel home.


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“I was waiting at work. But she never came home.

“I remember it was raining heavily that day. I called all the airports to see if she had gotten on a flight, but nothing.

“We never hear anything again.”

Joyce Curtis assumed her son was dead when she hadn't heard from him in 12 years.  Photo / 123rf
Joyce Curtis assumed her son was dead when she hadn’t heard from him in 12 years. Photo / 123rf

But this month, Curtis was surprised to discover he was alive when the British consulate contacted her to alert her that he had been admitted to a French hospital for the second time.

“I spoke to him on the phone. He looks healthy.

“I asked him, ‘Are you coming home Nikky?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’

“I can’t imagine what he’s been through. I just need to take it home.

Nicholas now plans to return home, but Curtis wants to travel to France to see him.

“I’m still not getting my hopes up until I get him home,” he said.

“However, hopefully I might even go to France with my daughter before then so I can see it.”

A spokesperson for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “We are supporting a British man in France and providing assistance to his family.

“We are in contact with the local authorities.”


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