Harvard Scientist Found 5 Days After Going Missing in Woods

Caption: Harvard researcher Ignaty Leshchiner

A missing Harvard scientist has been found in a Moscow region village after a harrowing ordeal in which he got lost for five days in the woods while hunting for mushrooms.

Police had already opened a murder investigation and were hunting for a body when Ignaty Leshchiner, 28, stumbled into the village of Golygino on Wednesday.

Police had discovered his Volvo S60 — cash and documents still inside — abandoned by the side of the highway between Moscow and Sergiyev Posad on Friday.

Local villagers called the police after Leshchiner refused to talk to them. But he was no more forthcoming with police, who subsequently called his mother to the scene, RIA-Novosti reported.

Leshchiner likes to walk through the woods and think, she told police.

A local official, who spoke by telephone on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the incident, said Leshchiner had ventured into the woods to look for mushrooms.

It was unclear how Leshchiner survived for the five days, and RIA-Novosti speculated that he lived off grass.

Leshchiner was examined by doctors in Sergiyev Posad and received a clean bill of health, a police spokeswoman said by telephone.

In accordance with police protocol, a murder case was opened into the disappearance. Police dogs and volunteers from Liza Alert participated in the search campaign.

Leshchiner, a genetics researcher at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, has authored two academic papers, according to his Harvard University page.

He and his wife, Yelizaveta, live in Massachusetts with their two young children. The couple was in Moscow visiting his parents.

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