Missing please help
Ten years on I still wonder what happened to Ian Doty
During one full-moon beach party on Ko Pha Ngna, I trod on broken glass. A few days later my foot became infected. I left the Island by boat and headed to Bangkok for urgent uncomfortable treatment; I had been due to fly back to India and was forced to put the date back.
I like having a ‘local’ and in February 2004 whilst recuperating, Gulliver’s bar on the Khao San Road became my regular haunt. That bar and that road were an education; it’s a road that most backpackers only pass through on route to the Islands. NO-TOURIST ever spends one month on it. I was on crutches I had no choice. I slept by the pool during the day and drank through out the night.
At first glance, life on the road seems harmless hedonistic fun; Taxis with their punters come and go the accumulated mess of yesterday’s party is swept away early every morning. There is a steady flow of transient young foreigners to replenish the ones leaving. The party always has new guests and starts again every lunch time.
To my recollection there is a MacDonald’s at one end and a police station at the other. Bars and hotels crammed shoulder to shoulder between. Drugs and prostitution are illegal but rife. All condensed into one handy half mile for the authorities.
I have always wondered what became of Ian. Had he been alone on his trip? Maybe he met a girl for example, had he taken his luggage with him? Had Ian travelled to Thailand with friends from home? Did Ian’s family even know that he was missing?
Each time I bought beer inside Gulliver’s I passed a photograph of Ian, his happy smiling face, starred outwardly from a poster. A beach holiday snap became a mystery, his portrait now tainted with sadness. Surely portraits of the missing are the saddest portraits of all. This was ten years ago.
The poster read Missing Please Help
Ian Doty has been missing since Friday Jan 30th. Last seen leaving the President Park Condominium at about 12:00pm wearing a black Metalica T-shirt and long pants. He is 20 years old and 190cm (6’5”) tall, approx 80 kg, light brown hair. Kind hearted person.
02-9360797 Press 0
I had no reason to telephone the numbers on the poster. I had not bumped into Ian or anyone else who knew him. I wish now that I had made an effort and called, if just to ask for more information. The details on the poster seemed vague ‘Doty’ an old Anglo Saxon name hardly much of a clue to his nationality. Was he English, Irish or Australian? He was a big guy, proof that anyone could end up in trouble. I always wondered if he had bumped into ‘the wrong crowd’.
Ian, you should be 30 years of age. I hope that the fears I had for you early in 2004 never came true. There was real danger on that road, I witnessed it night after night and I prey there was a huge sigh of relief when who ever was searching eventually found you.