We were contacted by a family member whose son was victim of such a drugging / spiking incident following one of our appeals on UK breakfast tv show GMTV. In this instance the victim was behaving that irrationally as a result of the drugs they were spiked with that they were placed into a mental institute by the local authorities.
Given that consular assistance is generally provided at the request of the victim, or accused, this person was in no state to make such a demand and hence they were institutionalised. A missing person to their family, it took over 8 weeks before the truth and the victim were found after extensive enquiries.
Likewise we have had several first hand accounts of people accused of acts of crime who didn't know their rights to assistance in a foreign country.
If Steven was a victim of crime or possibly arrested for a similar act, having had his drink spiked with drugs, would he have had the wherewithall to demand his rights for consular assistance given he wouldn't be familiar with neither his rights or the language on how to request them? Moreso, considering that Steve went missing, alone, on his first night there and on his first trip abroad without family.
A further consideration is the fact that commercial ambulance services operate on the island and we were contacted about instances where victims of an accident or assault were taken to hospitals many miles away from the main hospitals situated in the nearby capital of Heraklion. Some of the people who had been in such a scenario said that, once cared for, they were let out of the hospital without any idea of where they were, and sometimes without means of paying to get back to where they were staying. In all of these instances their mobile phone and ability to contact friends came to the rescue.
Several of the hospital and medical centre workers that we spoke to also mentioned that in an instance where a victim of an accident had no ID they'd John Doe the admissions book so that they could be taken in to be cared for with the utmost urgency. To that end there could be no formal identification of admissions if Steve, without his wallet, had been hospitalised for some reason.
Then there are the potential sightings that are detailed on this page here. Following an appeal on a Greek missing persons TV show (Light at the end of the tunnel) we had several sightings of someone matching Steve's description, lost, and in some instances with a head injury asking for help. All of these sightings happened with the Stalis area - just a couple of kilometres from Malia.
One such sighting even came on the day of the TV appeal from a truck driver who had picked up a hitchiker matching Steve's description. This truck driver mentioned a 'mole' on the hitchiker's cheek that matched where Steve had a prominent mole, although this facial feature was something that hadn't been previously been publicised on any of the appeal photographs, nor mentioned as a distinguishing facial chatacteristic to the press or authorities.
The driver, who seemed certain that this person could have been Steve, also mentioned that this person had a head injury and could only communicate in grunts and gestures before fleeing the truck when the driver pulled in to buy cigarettes from a shop in Stalis.
A further sighting came following an appeal on BBC TV's Missing live in 2010. This time from the western side of the island in Platanios / Platanes, near Chania. In this case the witness was in a bar called the 'Guiness bar' and upon seeing someone matching Steve's description remarked 'that's that lad that's missing'. Unfortunately the person who looked like Steve wasn't approached.
More recently, following an appeal on BBC Northwest news in September 2012, a lady contacted the family. She'd been holidaying in Stalis in 2011 and had seen a beggar regularly visiting local businesses opposite the apartments that she was staying in. Unaware of Steve's case at the time that she was staying there, she contacted us following the appeal as she thought it was strange, as this person didn't speak Greek, had some form of injury - saying that on recollection there's a possibility this person may have been Steve.
Upon going to Stalis to follow up this lead, we then got another lead from an expat worker that we became friends with. In 2011 her son was on the way back from a party in Heraklion when he noticed a homeless person sleeping on a bench. This homeless man, seemingly in his late 20's, was speaking in English in his sleep.
Upon following this up with local churches in the area we discovered that they were aware of a homeless British person, although they could not confirm whether it was the same one that this young man had seen. After contacting the consulate we discovered that they were not aware of any homeless British citizens within Crete.
Finally, and one of the biggest reasons why we continue to believe is down to the Cretan people themselves. We are fortunate enough to have been welcomed, embraced and supported in every possible way by them. You will struggle to meet a more family orientated community. To a person they have all said that they believe in their hearts that we will find Steve, that he's alive and to never give up.
The monstaries will care for such people. A family will take such a stranger in trouble into their home without a second thought. We have heard this everywhere we have travelled and from every Cretan that we have spoken to.
When you hear that from the very people who know the island, it's people, and the cracks that, in a million to one chance, a foreign stranger can fall down, then you know that you will never walk alone - and neither should Steve. If you want to help, or know somebody that can help us to raise awareness of Steve's case, please visit this page here for ideas and contact details.