FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Missing for more than a month, a Treasure Coast man has resurfaced in central Florida - alive and well.
Dennis Horvath is expected to return Fort Pierce sometime this weekend but he will likely receive a mixed reception.
Horvath's friends and family say they are relieved he is safe. But some say they are also frustrated that he had been gone for so long and never even once reached out to anyone at home.
"I knew it was going to happen. I just didn't know when," said Richard Garbe, a close friend of Horvath, 56. Garbe said he did not know where Horvath was for the last 35 days until now. "I can't wait to see him," said Garbe. "I'll give him a hug and I'll have tears in my eyes."
Fort Pierce police say Horvath had not been seen since the morning of July 13, when he opened up his two restaurants, Captain's Galley and Captain Jax Sandbar & Grill.
Investigators spent time, effort, and financial resources looking for him. Horvath turned up Friday in Alachua County near Gainesville at an America's Best Value Inn where he had apparently been staying.
"I don't know if I would hug him or slap him because there are a lot of people really upset about it," said Barbara Goad, who owns Buckshot Bay bar, which is next door to Horvath's establishment. "His kids were really upset," she said.
Horvath's family and the community had no idea where he was. They turned to social media, starting a Facebook page, hoping someone would spot him.
It was through Facebook, police say, that Horvath this week finally reached back out to his family, revealing his whereabouts. "I wish he called them earlier so they didn't have to go through all that pain and agony but apparently he was going through his own," said Goad.
Friends say the stress of running two businesses sent Horvath into a depression - so he left. Some of his patrons say his actions were irresponsible and immoral. But police say his actions were not illegal.
People are a little frustrated about this but you know what? We're all human," said Garbe. "We all got to go through something before we can think straight."
Only Horvath has all the answers about why he left and why he was staying silent 240 miles away from home.
Police do not yet know how much money was spent on searching for Horvath. It is unclear if he would ever be held responsible for that money because he did not break the law.
investigators hope this incident does not hinder the public in helping with missing persons cases in the future.
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