Details of Disappearance
Lamouris left his native Ghent, Belgium without warning on January 25, 2002. He told his mother he was going to school, where he studied mathematics with hopes of enrolling in the University of Ghent. He said he would be working at Pizza Hut that evening, and suggested his mother take the 9:00 a.m. train to her job in Brussels, Belgium instead of her usual one.
Unbeknownst to his mother, Lamouris planned to take that train himself to the airport. When he didn't return home, his mother called his workplace and found out he was not, in fact, scheduled to work that day.
Lamouris's mother reported him missing. In their investigation, police discovered he'd erased his computer hard drive, secretly obtained a passport and flown to New York City.
Due to American immigration laws, Lamouris was required to purchase a return ticket upon his arrival in New York City. It's unclear whether he intended to use the ticket, which was booked for February 9; in any case, he didn't board his return flight.
Records show Lamouris's passport was used to cross into Canada at Niagara Falls on January 25 and re-enter the United States on January 31. He has never been heard from again.
Lamouris's backpack was found at Prospect Park in Niagara Falls, New York at 4:15 p.m. on February 2, the day after a heavy ice storm hit the area. It contained his passport, his return plane ticket, $10 in American currency, $25 in Canadian coins, a pocket knife, taxi receipts, 36 CDs of classical music, a CD player, and a hardcover copy of J.D. Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye. Lamouris identified with the book's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, a teen misfit who runs away to New York City after he fails out of high school.
Lamouris attempted suicide at age 16 by jumping off a six-story building. He later told his mother he had tried to take his own life because he was upset about his parents' divorce. He was severely injured in the fall; he spent six months in a hospital and had to use a wheelchair for a year.
He made a complete physical recovery in the two years after the incident and appeared to recover mentally as well. He found a job, returned to school and was released from his psychiatrist's care. Niagara Falls is a popular spot for suicides, but no trace of Lamouris's body was ever found there.
Lamouris's mother hopes he didn't harm himself and instead began a new life in the United States or Canada. A bus stop, where anyone can board a bus without identification, is just down the street from the trash can where his belongings were found.
Lamouris is interested in classical music, philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, and basketball. His case remains unsolved.