Police probe reported sighting of missing Newport man Ben Caplan
5:06pm Monday 9th December 2013 in News
GWENT Police are investigating a reported sighting of a missing Newport dad.
The report was that missing South Wales Argus worker Ben Caplan was seen at 6.50am on Sunday morning near the Royal Mail sorting office on Mill Street near the railway station.
Mr Caplan, 30, who works in the Argus circulation department, had been out celebrating his birthday with friends in Caerleon on Saturday night before he went missing.
His wife is appealing to the public for help, after she had to report her husband missing on Sunday afternoon.
Mr Caplan lives with his wife Danielle Caplan and their two young children in Bond Street, Newport. The couple have a six-month old baby boy, Jude as well as a five-year-old stepson, Evan.
“It’s totally out of character,” said Mrs Caplan.
“He was in Caerleon with some guys from the office. They were going into town but they said he seemed all right so they left him Caerleon at about 11pm.”
Mrs Caplan said she is aware of the report to police, claiming to have seen her husband near Newport railway station.
Mrs Caplan said was shaking as she read the comment from the man online. “Any sightings are good news” she said.
Gwent police have confirmed Ben was last seen at 11pm on Saturday in Bolero's bar in Caerleon.
There is CCTV footage capturing Ben in Caerleon at 11.15pm, police said.
“I texted him at about 11.20pm and got a jumbled bunch of letters back so I thought he was just drunk. After that I tried ringing but there was no answer and then his phone seemed to be switched off.” Mrs Caplan hasn’t left the house since the weekend as her husband didn’t have his house keys on him.
“He seemed in a good mood when he went out – it wasn’t as if we had argued or anything - and he left his house keys here as he wasn’t expecting to be back late.
“He doesn’t go out very often but it was his 30th birthday on Friday so he went out for a couple of drinks.”
Mrs Caplan phoned a friend he was out with at 1am, who assured her he was fine when they had left him. According to Mrs Caplan, he didn’t have much money on him.
“By Sunday morning, when he still wasn’t home, I was quite concerned. At 6am I was calling all the hospitals.
“I don’t think he’s got his phone with him. He’s someone who checks Facebook all the time and would have contacted someone even if he didn’t want to talk to me.”
Mrs Caplan called the police at 3pm on Sunday.
“It was like ‘it’s official now’. Since then it just seems to have exploded online.”
Hundreds of people have posted statements on social networking sites appealing to find Ben. His picture has been shared almost 2,000 times on Facebook since Sunday.
Family and friends were out in Caerleon and Newport on Sunday and Monday going around pubs with his picture and putting up posters in shops.
“It’s not like him at all. When he does go out, he’s always texting me.
“I’ve been phoning and messaging different people. Anything I could think of.
“There’s nothing else we can do now except wait.”
Mrs Caplan and her family must now wait as the police go through hours of CCTV footage from Newport and Caerleon for another sighting of Ben.
His father, who works in Saudi Arabia and wasn’t due home until Christmas Eve, is flying back to the UK tomorrow.
Mr Caplan is described as white, 5ft 9ins tall, of a slight build with shoulder length straight brown hair. He has tattoos on both his arms as well as his back and chest.
When he was last seen he was wearing a dark navy t-shirt and jeans.
Severn Area Rescue Association launched a search from Uskmouth to Caerleon on Sunday evening, where a boat crew searched for around four hours from 9.40 to around 2am Monday morning. There was also a land search team of four people searching the river banks. SARA said it was “unlikely” volunteers would be out searching again.
“I was dreading hearing anything when they were saying about searching the river,” said Mrs Caplan.
“I’m just trying to think past that now.”
A police helicopter also searched the area. The aircraft searched the Caerleon area and the River Usk on Sunday night and again on Monday morning.
In a statement on Monday afternoon, Gwent Police said: “Officers are carrying out searches and following reports of someone going into the river at Caerleon Bridge at approximately 11.45pm on Saturday December 7. Searches of the area are being undertaken by SARA (Severn Area Rescue Association).”
Anyone who might have seen Ben or has any information is asked to call Gwent Police on 101 quoting log number 295 08/12/13.
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