(NewsNation) — Steve Hasel still asks God for answers about where his son is. He has to. The not knowing is too much to handle.
“Is he alright? Is he here or is he with you?” Hasel asks God.
No answer has come yet. Hasel and his family are still left wondering what happened to 23-year-old Marine Bryan “Vladek” Hasel, who disappeared in November of 2021 in Orange County, Florida.
Bryan, who was adopted by his family from Russia at the age of 5, is one of eight children in the Hasel household. After high school, Bryan joined the Marines.
He is the type of person who would smile at strangers on the street and help the homeless, according to those who knew him.
“He had really been struggling with finding his purpose in life after leaving the Marines. And with reaching out to the homeless community, I feel like that really gave him a purpose,” said Bryan’s sister, Beth Hasel.
After being honorably discharged, Bryan had “ups and downs,” his family says, struggling with bouts of depression dating back to his childhood in Moscow.
His family believes his mental health struggles could have something to do with his disappearance.
“I was really worried because I was thinking about his mental health and I know my dad had mentioned some concerns that he had about his behavior and some of the stuff he was saying,” Bryan’s sister Jodi Hasel said. “He was very hyper-focused on religion, talking about archangels and demons the night before my dad left.”
Steve went out of town the morning of Nov. 5, and when he returned home, Bryan was gone, Bryan’s cellphone was left behind. It was the last time anyone in his family would see him.
A coffee shop in Orlando where Bryan would hang out kicked him out and told him not to come back after a customer accused him of having a pocket knife at his table.
His father worries this event could have triggered a mental breakdown. He wonders if his son took to the woods, like he once said he would, and stayed there.
There is a massive wooded area behind his apartment complex, overgrown thick with trees and bushes. His family wonders if that is where he disappeared to.
There have been unfounded reports of Bryan being spotted at a homeless encampment and a 7-Eleven gas station.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said it is an active and open investigation.