Without any new information or leads, Portland police are at a crossroads as they determine what to do next in the search for a 21-year-old Portland man who was reported missing this month.

21-year-old Samuel Mugisha has been missing since Nov. 4. Photo courtesy of Mugisha family

Following the disappearance of 21-year-old Samuel Mugisha on Nov. 4, police have spent hours combing the 30 acres of woods behind Mugisha’s North Deering apartment, as well as a park, railroad tracks and a river close to Mugisha’s home.

Police had at least 20 officers looking for Mugisha at one time, a department spokesman said. With the help of other departments and the Maine Warden Service, police have used boats, all-terrain vehicles and a drone from the Brunswick Police Department to aid their efforts. But what they need most now is a new lead, otherwise, they’re unsure of where to expand their search efforts.

We’re kind of taking everything into account,” Portland police Maj. Robert Martin said Monday.

Mugisha’s relatives said they were hoping to meet with police Tuesday to go over the case, but all on-duty officers were called to Portland High School for a hoax shooting report. 

Police don’t know why Mugisha left – if he intended to hitch a ride with someone and go out of state, if he was in an agitated state and was seeking comfort elsewhere, or if he just wanted to disappear. They don’t know if he intended to harm himself.


None of the credit cards attached to Mugisha’s name have been used not even to withdraw cash before he went missing, Martin said. Police aren’t sure if Mugisha had a phone or trackable device on him at the time he left, and whether police might be able to retrieve data from those devices that will show a clearer picture of where he could be now.

Martin said police initially believed he left his cellphone behind. But after talking with family, officers learned it’s possible Mugisha was wearing an Apple watch that connected to his phone, or that he could’ve had a second phone or another device.

Police and Mugisha’s family members were hopeful over the weekend after receiving a tip that someone saw the young man hitchhiking near Rockport – however, after reviewing a high-quality image, Mugisha’s relatives determined it was not him.

Claude Rwaganje, Mugisha’s uncle, said Monday that the family is hoping the police can access his medical records from a psychiatric hospital he stayed at days before his disappearance. Martin said Monday that medical records are more difficult to access due to federal privacy laws, without a patient’s consent.

Mugisha’s family told the Portland Press Herald last week that he struggles with a mental illness that sometimes renders him non-verbal, and causes him to forget where he is and faint. His family believes his disappearance might be connected to his illness.

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