An Algerian Man Who Disappeared At Age 19 In 1998 Has Just Been Discovered Alive In His Neighbor’s Basement

Published May 16, 2024

Omar Bin Omran, now 45, has allegedly been held captive by the neighbor the whole time he's been missing.

Omar Bin Omran

EnnaharTvOmar Bin Omran after his rescue.

Twenty-six years after his disappearance in Djelfa, Algeria, Omar Bin Omran was found under a hay-covered trap door in his neighbor’s home, thanks to a social media post that provided a lead in the case.

Omran, who’d vanished at age 19 in 1998 on his way to a vocational school, was widely believed to be dead. At the time he vanished, Algeria was in the midst of a civil war, and it seemed likely that he’d been mistakenly killed during a battle. But Omran, now 45, was alive the whole time.

Authorities now believe that the neighbor, identified as a 61-year-old with the initials B.A., kidnapped Omran when he was a teenager and held him captive the entire time that he was missing. Omran was only recently discovered in B.A.’s cellar after the suspect’s brother made a post on social media suggesting that B.A. was involved in the alleged abduction.

After the shocking discovery, the rescue of Omran, and the arrest of B.A., police are now trying to piece together the full story of the alleged kidnapping — and what happened during Omran’s decades in captivity.

The Disappearance Of Teenage Omar Bin Omran

Omar Bin Omran As A Teenager

EnnaharTvOmar Bin Omran as a teenager.

In 1998, 19-year-old Omar Bin Omran left his family’s home in Djelfa, Algeria to attend lessons at a vocational school and never returned home.

At the time, the country was embroiled in a brutal civil war between the government and Islamist rebels, so authorities believed that Omran was killed simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite this, the missing teen’s family held out hope that he could still be alive.

Apparently, Omran’s dog believed he was still alive as well — and reportedly lingered around B.A.’s home for about a month after Omran’s disappearance. Chillingly, the dog was mysteriously found dead in front of Omran’s family’s home. (Authorities now believe B.A. killed the dog out of fear that the abduction would be discovered, according to the New York Post.)

Omar Bin Omran With His Dog

X (Formerly Twitter)Omar Bin Omran with his dog, who was allegedly killed by his kidnapper.

For years, Omran’s family went without answers as to what happened to him. But all that changed when authorities received a compelling lead.

A Miraculous Discovery 26 Years Later

In 2024, B.A.’s brother reportedly began airing grievances about B.A. on social media, as the two were said to be fighting over inheritance. One post caught the eye of Omar Bin Omran’s family — as it suggested that B.A. had been involved in the disappearance of Omran all those years ago.

The Omran family took this lead to the authorities, and they quickly conducted a thorough search of B.A.’s home.

There, authorities found 45-year-old Omran underneath a hay-covered trap door, apparently leading to a secret cellar. They immediately transported Omran to a medical facility for physical and psychological treatment.

As for B.A., authorities arrested the 61-year-old man after he attempted to flee from the home. According to the Djelfa Attorney General’s Office, authorities plan to put the alleged abductor on trial as soon as possible and deliver swift justice for the “heinous crime.”

It’s believed that Omran’s case may be one of the longest-running kidnappings in modern history, even longer than that of Elisabeth Fritzl, the Austrian woman who was held prisoner by her own father for 24 years.

Discovery Of Omar Bin Omran

EnnaharTvThe moment that authorities discovered Omar Bin Omran in the neighbor’s home.

Police are still learning about Omran’s time in captivity, but so far, Algerian media reports that Omran said he was unable to call out for help because he felt like he was “under some kind of spell.” Authorities are hoping to get the full story once he completes his medical treatment.

For now, the rescue of Omran has brought happiness and joy to his family and the community. According to the Daily Mail, his cousin posted on social media, “Thank God my cousin was found. [He] is in good health after 26 years of disappearance. Awaiting details of the case and investigations.”

But tragically, Omran’s mother died in 2013, while her son was still missing. Reportedly, she never stopped believing that he was still alive and pleaded with her family up until her death to keep searching for him.

As a family friend put it: “His poor mom died while he was in captivity, without knowing what had happened to him, without knowing that all this time he was really right beside her.”

After reading about Omar Bin Omran, dive into the horrifying story of Amanda Berry, the woman who survived 10 years in captivity in a Cleveland home. Then, read about Jaycee Dugard, the girl who was abducted by a couple at age 11 and was then held captive for 18 years.

Amber Morgan
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.
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Morgan, Amber. "An Algerian Man Who Disappeared At Age 19 In 1998 Has Just Been Discovered Alive In His Neighbor’s Basement.", May 16, 2024, Accessed May 23, 2024.