Louis Jacques Wilguens 7th Member of Haiti's Special Olympics Team Missing in Florida

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 13, 2022

A man waves a Haitian flag at a campaign rally for presidential candidate Maryse Narcisse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Sunday's voters will choose a new president, with the top two finishers going to a Jan. 29 runoff, as well as senators and members of the Chamber of Deputies. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo

Louis Jacques Wilguens has become the seventh member of Haiti's delegation to the Special Olympics 2022 USA Games to go missing in Florida.

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office confirmed to TMZ Sports on Monday that Wilguens, 25, was last seen Saturday and didn't show up for his return flight to Haiti on Sunday. Six members of a soccer team from the country went missing last Monday.

Police do not suspect foul play in the earlier disappearances but requested anyone with information about the athletes' whereabouts to contact local authorities, per TMZ.

The Haitian Times reported the six soccer team members, who range in age from 18 to 32, are Joseph Mithon, Nicholson Fontilus, Peter Mianovich Berlus, Anderson Petit-Frere, Steevenson Jacquet and Oriol Jean

Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald reported the group includes five players and a coach from the country's unified soccer team, which includes athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.

"The reason for their departure from the Games is currently unknown," the Special Olympics said in a statement. "The well-being of these delegates is our foremost concern. Local authorities have indicated they have no reason to believe the health and safety of any of the individuals is at risk."

Rachel Pierre-Champagne, Haiti's Special Olympics board chairman, suggested to Charles athletes were possibly using the Games as an opportunity to escape their home country.

"With these types of events and with the situation that is happening in Haiti, it's unfortunate that there are people who are going to be selfish and take these opportunities for themselves and not look at the needs of the greater community and the common good for all of us," Pierre-Champagne said.

There were two other instances in recent years—2015 in New York City and 2021 in Mexico City—where soccer players from Haiti attempted to defect while traveling for road matches, per the Haitian Times.

Last month, CNN's Etant Dupain and Eliza Mackintosh reported 188 people were killed and nearly 17,000 were displaced from Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince during the period of April 24 through May 26 because of gang violence.

The Special Olympics USA Games ended Sunday after a week of events in Orlando.