Missing Israeli found in North Hollywood

Syril Zimand, a 28-year-old Israeli thought to be missing by his father, turned up in North Hollywood on Jan. 20,  approximately 25 days after the father, Henri Zimand, a philanthropist and entrepreneur who lives in Israel and Monaco, told the Jewish Journal and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) that he had lost track of his son’s whereabouts and was concerned for his safety.  Henri Zimand did not file an official police report with the LAPD.

The search for Syril concluded on Sunday, Jan 20, after an acquaintance spotted him in a North Hollywood restaurant, according to Henri Zimand.

The acquaintance, Henri Ziman wrote in an email, “decided to go and eat a hamburger with his wife; as they ate suddenly he says to his wife…‘Is this not Syril at the other end of the restaurant?’”

The man approached Syril, Henri wrote, and told him “The whole world is looking for you.” The man then helped Syril to call his father and a cousin who is in L.A.

Henri said the acquaintance had learned that Syril was missing from the Jewish Journal.

Syril lives in Herzliya and has served in the Israeli army; he came to Los Angeles in early November to write and sell screenplays and checked into USA Hostels in Hollywood on Nov. 10. He stayed at the hostel until Nov. 24, the maximum amount of days allowed. Sometime after leaving the hotel, he called Henri to say that he was fine, but he did not inform his father of his whereabouts. That was the last time the two made contact until Jan. 20.

Henri wrote in a Jan. 18 Facebook post that Syril had been missing for more than 40 days.

Henri wrote to the LAPD on Dec. 27 to ask for help, but never filed an official missing-persons report with the Los Angeles police.

Asher Ben Artzi, former chief superintendant of the Israeli National Police, assisted with the search, and Henri also contacted the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles about his missing son. In addition, Henri used Facebook to spread the word, and Syril’s cousin, Ronit Machlouf, posted missing-person flyers around Los Angeles.

On his trip to Los Angeles, Syril was traveling with two passports, one Israeli and the other from Belgium; he had a six-month visa attached to his Belgium passport, along with $1,500. By late-December, a cell phone he had been using during the first couple of weeks of his stay was no longer in service. Making the search more difficult for Henri, Syril was traveling without a credit card.

Syril Zimand, aspiring Israeli filmmaker, missing in Hollywood [UPDATE]

[UPDATE, Jan. 7:] According to Detective L. Saiza of the Los Angeles Police Department's missing-person unit, as of Jan. 7 Henri Zimand has not filed a missing-persons report with the LAPD about his son, Syril Zimand.  This despite the fact that Zimand has asked the LAPD, the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles and family living in Los Angeles to help find his son. 

[Jan. 3] In early November, Syril Zimand, 28 and an aspiring screenwriter, left Israel and came to Los Angeles with the goal of writing and selling his screenplays. He checked into a hostel in Hollywood on Nov. 10 and stayed there until Nov. 24.

Since that time, his whereabouts are unknown.

Henri Zimand, Syril’s father, said in a phone interview Thursday, Jan. 3, from Monaco, that he has been unsuccessfully trying to track down his son, who is not reachable by cell phone. Zimand said he has filed a report with law enforcement agencies as well as the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles, with no results.

“I’m a little bit surprised at the whole thing, because normally he would call, normally he would say, ‘Send me some money,’” said Zimand, a Monaco-based philanthropist who earned his fortunes in real estate and startup companies.

“But this time, he did not ask; he didn’t tell me he was moving from the hotel—the only thing I could hope for is he found somebody who is giving him lodging and food and he simply is not calling,” Zimand said. Zimand also said that they had not had any disagreements and he was unaware of anything that would cause his son not to call.

Zimand made available to The Journal emails from the Los Angeles Police Department and the California Department of Justice Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit saying they know nothing of Syril Zimand’s whereabouts.

An official at the Israeli Consulate also had no information. “We tried to locate him, but since the son never initiated contact with us, we didn't have any leads or information,” Danny Gadot, a spokesperson for consular affairs at the Consulate General of Israel Los Angeles said Thursday.

Zimand said he has hired a private detective who has checked homeless shelters and elsewhere, without success.

The last place Syril was seen was at USA Hostels in Hollywood, according to Zimand. Syril stayed at the hostel for 14 days, the maximum amount of days allowed for guests at the hostel. During his stay, he called his father—whom he’d been speaking with two or three times per week since arriving in Los Angeles on Nov. 8—and asked for money to pay for the hotel.

Sometime after Nov. 24, Zimand said, Syril called his father to say he’d received the money, $1,000, and that everything was fine. He did not tell his father that he was no longer staying at the hostel.  That was the last time the two made contact.

Zimand said he learned that Syril checked out of that hostel only when Henri Zimand’s sister visited the hotel during a trip to Los Angeles. She was told by the hostel that Syril was no longer staying there.

According to Henri, Syril has never gone missing prior to this incident.

Born in Monaco, Syril was raised and educated in Israel. He has traveled back-and-forth between Israel and Los Angeles several times over the past few years.

Syril, who lives in Herzliya and served in the Israeli army approximately 10 years ago, has been working toward a career in the film business. Two years ago, he studied briefly at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, his father said.

On this trip, Syril was traveling with two passports, one Israeli and the other from Belgium, He had a six-month visa attached to his Belgium passport, along with $1500.

Zimand said an LAPD detective had suggested that Syril might be using his multiple passports to travel nationally or internationally, however  Zimand said he believes his son is still in Los Angeles.

“His only interest was to sell scripts and write scripts, so that he can only do in Los Angeles,” he said. “That was his main goal.”

In addition to reaching out to law enforcement, Henri Zimand has used Facebook to spread the word about his missing son, who is traveling without a credit card and does not have a bank account in Los Angeles. Zimand said he is also currently working with Interpol to procure phone records for a cell phone Syril purchased in Los Angeles, but which is no longer accepting calls.

Ronit Machlouf, a cousin of Syril, lives in the San Fernando Valley and on Thursday began posting missing-person flyers around Los Angeles. In a phone interview, Machlouf said she spoke to Syril by phone a couple of weeks ago. He told her he was looking for a place to stay and that he would come by for Shabbat dinner as soon as he was settled.

“But I didn’t hear from him. And then when I tried to call him, the phone was disconnected. It sounds like something is wrong… he’s coming from a wealthy family, and they are very generous, and that’s the way Syril is. …I’m afraid that people are taking advantage of him,” Machlouf said.

Machlouf said she has spoken with with a local friend of Syril’s, who told Machlouf that Syril had asked him if he could stay with him but who told Syril that he didn’t have anywhere for him to sleep. He told her he never heard further from Syril.

The family is asking that if anyone has information on Syril’s whereabouts to call the Los Angeles Police Department’s missing-person unit at (213) 996-1800 or (877) 527-3247.

Missing Person

Israeli missing in Los Angeles

[UPDATE: Syril Zimand, aspiring Israeli filmmaker, missing in Hollywood]

The son of an Israeli businessman and philanthropist is believed by his father to be missing in Los Angeles.

Henri Zimand posted on Facebook on Jan 2 that his son, Syril Zimand, 28, has not been heard from for “several weeks.”

Zimand has been reaching out to people and organizations in Los Angeles to help with the search.

“If anyone should come across my son Syril in Los Angeles please advise me urgently,” Zimand wrote online.

Zimand added that his son, in the midst of a six-month trip in Los Angeles, was last seen at USA Hostels in Hollywood, located at Hollywood Boulevard and Schrader Boulevard. It was unusual for Syril to go several weeks without contacting him, Zimand wrote on Facebook.

Brigit Nickol, director of operations at USA Hostels, Inc. confirmed that Syril Zimand was a guest at USA Hostels in Hollywood, having stayed there from Nov. 10-24, the maximum amount of days allowed for guests at the hostel.  Nickol did not have any additional information regarding Zimand’s whereabouts, she said.

Zimand’s father, a resident of Monaco, did not respond immediately on Wednesday to the Journal’s attempts to contact him.  Via social media, he has asked that anyone who has information about his son call the Los Angeles Police Department’s missing-person unit at (213) 996-1800 or (877) 527-3247. The Journal will be updating this story as more information becomes available.