A DAUGHTER who wants the father she hasn’t seen for 15 years to walk her down the aisle is seeking help to find the Dutch-born astronomer and physicist thought to have strong links to Ross-shire.
John Dijkslag’s last known postal address was in Contin — and it has been reported he was also involved in a paranormal investigation in a Dingwall hotel.
He seems to have disappeared without a trace and his daughter Nikky Dijkslag, from Belgium, and his German friend Gabriele John — who was also carrying out a separate search for John — have been unable to track his current whereabouts, despite years of looking.
The hunt for John, who is 57 and originally from Almelo in the Netherlands, has gained momentum in recent days as his daughter Nikky, who is a mother of three young boys, has suffered a heart attack and is now desperate to find him.
Friend Gabriele, from Dusseldorf, has upped the search on her behalf and has this week contacted Highland media and the police, as well as churches and community groups in Contin, to try to find a fresh lead.
John, who is known as Jan to his family, is thought to have been in this country for around 16 years and lived in Croy about 11 years ago.
He is known to have worked at a car hire business in Inverness Airport at that time while waiting for permission to build a planetarium in the Highlands.
The last known mailing address Gabriele has for him is at Contin Post Office, and she has also found a post on the Haunted Scotland website which says John investigated paranormal activity at Tulloch Castle in Dingwall — well-known for the ghostly goings on of the green lady. He put it down to “extreme high levels of electromagnetic-induced energy” from natural fault lines.
Gabriele has also contacted Tulloch Castle, the astronomical societies of the Highlands, Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Haunted Scotland website.
Nikky has posted her dad’s details and photograph on the Missing People Scotland Facebook page and contacted Dutch TV, but all to no avail.
Speaking from Dusseldorf this week, Gabriele told the Journal that John’s daughter, who is in her late thirties, is still in hospital recovering from a heart attack and wants nothing more than to find her dad, as she lost her mother two years ago.
“His daughter wants to get married but wants her dad to guide her to the altar, and I feel she is waiting for her daddy before she gets married,” said Gabriele.
“His three grandchildren also miss their grandpa desperately. He has three wonderful grandsons who still don’t know him.
“His daughter does not want to get married without his blessing.”
John left his family in the Netherlands and moved to Scotland in December 1998 when his relationship ended.
He served Gabriele at a car rental branch at the airport during a holiday in Scotland in 2003 when she popped in to change her hire car due to bad back pain.
John called her every night during her stay to find out how she was, and on her return home they stayed in touch by phone for almost two years, talking for hours every night.
They lost contact but Gabriele never forgot about John and has spent the last few years trying to find him.
Unbeknownst to her, his daughter had also been looking for him and the pair got in contact just a few weeks ago when Nikky spotted an internet appeal by Gabriele.
Gabriele reported his disappearance to Police Scotland in Inverness on Wednesday and was told to report him missing to the local police in either Germany or Belgium and they would then contact the Scottish force with a note of the enquiries that had to be carried out.
Gabriele is sure he is in Scotland as this is the country he loves most and is perfect for stargazers.
“He really was a charming man, he wouldn’t want to stay distanced as he was terribly nice at the time. Something might have happened to him,” she said.
“For Nikky it has been all too stressful and since her heart attack I have decided to do what I can to find him as his daughter is waiting for him.”
Contin Community Trust received an email from Gabriele this week and an employee there told the Journal there was no record of him on the electoral roll.
Although he has no obvious connections to Contin, the volunteers at the trust will make enquiries in the village and pass any details on to Gabriele.
Staff at the car rental firm told Gabriele a year ago that John had left the company seven years before.
Back in 2003, a Highland newspaper quoted John as a Croy resident and scientist in a report about mysterious light activity over Loch Ness.
Anyone with information should contact Nikky or Gabriele via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com