Wiretaps Reveal New Leads in Decade-Old Disappearance of 10-Year-Old Albanian Boy

The disappearance of a 10-year-old Albanian boy linked to human trafficking, a senior intelligence official, and a possible cover-up, leaving his family searching for answers over a decade later.

Rafia Tasleem
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Wiretaps Reveal New Leads in Decade-Old Disappearance of 10-Year-Old Albanian Boy

Wiretaps Reveal New Leads in Decade-Old Disappearance of 10-Year-Old Albanian Boy

The disappearance of 10-year-old Julian Çela in Albania over a decade ago has resurfaced as the investigative show 'In the Saint' revisits the case with new evidence. Wiretaps from the offices of the State Intelligence Service (SHISH) have linked a suspected human trafficker, the boy's cousin, and the town of Fushë Kruja to the unsolved mystery.

Julian Çela was last seen at an internet center in his neighborhood in 2012 when he was called out by someone and never returned. His father, Skënder Çela, a senior officer at SHISH, immediately reported his son missing to the police. Despite extensive searches, no trace of the boy has been found and his fate remains unknown.

The prosecutor's office in Tirana opened a criminal investigation into the disappearance. Wiretaps revealed that a suspected human trafficker named Selim B. had mentioned Fushë Kruja as a possible location where the child could be hiding. Investigators also focused on Julian's cousin, the granddaughter of Skënder Çela, who was seen traveling to Switzerland on the day of the disappearance and had stopped in Fushë Kruja. However, no definitive connection was established between these individuals and the boy's disappearance.

Why this matters: The case of Julian Çela's disappearance has haunted Albania for over a decade, with no resolution for the family or the public. The potential involvement of human trafficking and the link to a senior intelligence official raise troubling questions about the reach of criminal networks and the safety of children in the country.

The show 'In the Saint' has also drawn a possible connection between Julian's disappearance and the murder of SHISH officer Isa Çopa in Durrës in October 2011. Çopa's death, initially ruled a suicide, is now believed by prosecutors to be a mafia-style murder. The documentary suggests the same criminal group behind Çopa's staged murder may have carried out the kidnapping of Julian Çela, and that the investigations were deliberately impeded.

Skënder Çela, who was the deputy director of the Counter Terrorist Directorate at SHISH at the time, has stated the family never received any threats or ransom demands despite the sensitive files he handled. The lack of contact from the kidnappers has deepened the mystery surrounding the case.

More than a decade later, Julian Çela's family has not given up hope of finding answers. They have kept Julian registered in the civil status, refusing to declare him deceased without knowing his true fate. The wiretaps disclosed by 'In the Saint' have reignited interest in the case and raised hopes that new evidence may still come to light. As Julian's father told the show, "The kidnappers left no trace, but God sees them. One day, the truth will come out."

Key Takeaways

  • 10-year-old Julian Çela disappeared in Albania in 2012, case unsolved
  • Wiretaps link suspected trafficker, cousin to Fushë Kruja town
  • Possible connection to SHISH officer Isa Çopa's 2011 murder
  • Investigations allegedly impeded, no threats or ransom demands
  • Family refuses to declare Julian deceased, hopes for truth