French man missing in Dubai found safely in hospital

Mohamed-Joseph Chauvin, 25, who has mental health issues, treated in psychiatric facility

Mohamed-Joseph Chauvin, 25, who also goes by the name Mehdi, last spoke to his family on April 26.
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The mother of a man who has been missing in Dubai for nine days said he has been found safely in hospital.

French citizen Mohamed-Joseph Chauvin, 25, last spoke to his family in the early hours of April 26.

He was last seen in the transit area of Dubai International Airport and was due to catch a flight back to Doha, where he has been living with his family since December.

His mother Fabienne told The National that a doctor from Al Amal Psychiatric Hospital had seen a public appeal for help on social media and recognised her son, as he was recently admitted to the hospital.

This really just shows the power of strangers who want to help. Thank goodness this nightmare is over
Fabienne Chauvin, mother of missing man

Mehdi, the name he goes by, has been living with mental health issues and was recently found to be experiencing from psychotic episodes.

After being unable to contact Mehdi for nine days, Ms Chauvin received a call on Thursday with information that he was safe and well.

A lady who had shared a post on social media about Mehdi’s disappearance was contacted by the doctor, and she in turn got in touch with Ms Chauvin.

"[The doctor said] he had admitted a patient with the same name last week,” she said.

"We contacted the hospital and after some time they called us back and confirmed that Mehdi was an inpatient there.“

"He has been there since April 27, just one day after he landed, can you imagine!”

Ms Chauvin said she was able to have a quick chat on the phone with Mehdi on Thursday, who confirmed he was doing well. Due to his state of mind when he was admitted into the hospital, he was unable to make a call to his family to let him know where he was.

She said she was still unclear where he was when he was picked up by authorities and moved to the hospital.

"This really just shows the power of social media and strangers who want to help,” she said.

“Thank goodness this nightmare is over.

"We are coordinating with police and we will wait to hear from them and then we will travel to Dubai to reunite with Mehdi.”

Missed flight was cause for concern

Mehdi, a French national, had been staying with his family in Doha since December, but was on a visit visa.

On April 25 he had to leave the country to renew his tourist visa and took a flight to Dubai.

He was due to complete a two hour stopover and then fly back to Doha, but missed his return flight.

He told his parents staff would not let him board the plane because he did not have a return flight to Dubai, which Ms Chauvin said did not make sense.

After missing the first flight, his parents booked a second ticket for Mehdi, which was scheduled to depart at 5.30 the next morning, but for a second time he failed to get on the plane.

At 2.01am on April 26 messages failed to deliver to Mehdi’s phone and the family were unable to contact him.

Ms Chauvin contacted the police and immigration department at Dubai Airports who confirmed that Mehdi had passed through immigration and left the airport.

She contacted the French Consulate in Dubai about her concerns regarding his whereabouts and also informed the Ministry of Interior in France about Mehdi’s missing status and mental health problems.

Plea for help on social media

Since they lost contact with Mehdi, the family had been posting messages on Facebook groups asking people in Dubai to come forward with information if they see him.

They received several tip-offs which amounted to nothing.

Ms Chauvin said Mehdi moved from France to Qatar in December after admitting to his family that he was battling depression.

Ms Chauvin said she wanted to be closer to her son to help tackle his mental health issues but things went awry in March when she asked him about getting a job.

She said he flew off the handle and seemed out of control, so they got an appointment with a doctor to get him some help.

“The doctor did some assessments and said he had suffered a psychotic episode and gave him some medication,” she said.

“He was doing OK after that, we just had to make sure he wasn’t under any stress.

“When we booked him the flight to Dubai to do the visa run, we made sure we booked a quick stopover flight, so he could just stay in the airport and return to Doha quickly."

Updated: May 05, 2022, 1:21 PM