Missing city resident found

Missing city resident found
Kilee "Kyle" Kamali and his mother, Julie Oliveri on Wednesday.

Olivia Anderson | oanderson@alextimes.com

Following weeks of searching, an Alexandria man who went missing on Dec. 15, Kilee “Kyle” Kamali, has been found. He was recently taken off a ventilator at a hospital in Washington, D.C., where he’s spent the last few days recovering.

Kamali went missing on Dec. 15, and after his mother, Julie Oliveri, posted in local neighborhood groups seeking help in locating her son, Kamali’s story spread through social media like wildfire. He was found unconscious but alive on Dec. 30, and is now expected to make a full recovery.

“It was amazing. There were just thousands of people looking for him, and actually I can say thousands because it was thousands. It floored me,” Oliveri said. “… Gratefulness doesn’t seem to capture how I really feel, but it’s quite an incredible feeling.”

Oliveri first realized her son was missing on Dec. 19, 2022, after he abruptly stopped responding to phone calls and text messages. Filled with uneasiness, Oliveri stopped by his Belle Haven apartment that day to check in. The apartment was empty, aside from his dog, Zelda Jane, who did not have food or water. Aware of how important Zelda Jane was to Kamali – “she’s his love,” Oliveri said – and the fact that he has bipolar disorder, she decided to contact law enforcement.

Kamali and his dog, Zelda Jane.

“I knew something was very wrong at that time, and so that’s when I called 911,” Oliveri recalled.

Oliveri filed a missing persons report, but police said that because Kamali was a 28-year-old man and only missing for several days at that point, they couldn’t yet add him to the missing persons database.

A few days later, a detective from the missing persons unit was assigned to Kamali’s case; he called local homeless and hypothermia shelters, clinics and hospitals in search of Kamali. Oliveri also provided as many details as she could, such as access to Kamali’s phone records, which revealed that all digital communication to anyone had ceased on the morning of Dec. 15, 2022.

“We were working together, but as every day went by, I don’t exactly know how to say it other than [that I felt] terror every day when I woke up and he wasn’t there,” Oliveri said.

Oliveri said that all the leads they received were sightings of people who looked similar to Kamali but were not him. And because the case was being investigated by the missing persons unit, it was subject to various limitations. So on the morning of Dec. 30, 2022, Oliveri announced she had hired a cyber security firm and private investigator, and posted a GoFundMe page requesting donations to aid with finances.

Just an hour later, Oliveri received a call from a social worker at a hospital in Washington, D.C. – she requested the name be omitted for security reasons – stating that Kamali had been admitted. Oliveri subsequently called off the private investigator and raced to the hospital to see him.

According to Oliveri, hospital staff told her that Kamali had been brought to the hospital by an ambulance. She said an individual who helps homeless people recognized Kamali was “seriously ill” and called for help. Upon arriving, she found her son intubated and in a medically induced coma due to a respiratory infection; he spent several days in that condition before waking up.

Though extremely weakened by his ordeal, Kamali was finally able to speak on Tuesday for the first time since being admitted. Oliveri said that he doesn’t remember what happened to have led him to the hospital, or even the last recorded Lyft drive that dropped him off at his apartment before he went missing.

“I think it was more waiting for Kilee to wake up to see if [he] would remember something and say, ‘Oh, this thing happened to me or someone did this to me’ or what have you,” Oliveri said. “Kilee doesn’t remember anything. He may eventually.”

Oliveri suggested that the incident or memory blackout might have something to do with his bipolar disorder, but does not know what happened. Kamali is in stable condition and is expected to be discharged this week.

Kamali went missing on Dec. 15, 2022 and was found on Dec. 30, 2022.

Recovery will include regular physical therapy and subacute rehabilitation. Kamali will have to go home in a wheelchair, Oliveri said, and regaining full health will take “a long time.”

But things are looking up. In four days, Kamali went from being barely able to whisper to mouthing full sentences. His demeanor has improved substantially, Oliveri said.

“Everybody, the doctors, nurses, my sister and I just wanted to be like, ‘It’s okay, you don’t have to try to talk. He just started thanking everyone around him … the nurse, the tech, every person that came in [he was] just like, ‘Thank you. Thank you so much,’” Oliveri said. “ … He’s in this just very sweet frame of mind and he’s really determined to make sure that he’s thanking everybody who helped to rescue him, essentially.”

The GoFundMe page has been updated to reflect that there is no longer a need for a private investigator but instead the growing medical expenses, which Oliveri said could be astronomical. Those interested in donating or sharing the page are encouraged to visit https:// www.gofundme.com/f/we3ysbring-kilee-home.

Overwhelmed by the flood of community support, Oliveri expressed gratitude for everyone who has assisted in locating her son or has sent kind messages. As 2023 settles in, she plans to catch her breath and hold those closest to her tightly.

“My feeling now is that we found him alive on December 30th. I didn’t have to try to bring in the new year without my son beside me and alive. I feel just filled with thankfulness, gratefulness [and] joy,” Oliveri said.