PANAMA CITY, Panama -- Capt. Asuncion Gaitan, the right-hand man to deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Antonio Noriega, was reported missing yesterday from the Vatican Embassy here, where he had been granted asylum in December.
The captain, among the most wanted men from the Noriega regime, became the object of a massive manhunt last night that included U.S. helicopters. Beefed-up security patrols were assigned to watch all airports and border crossings.
How Captain Gaitan left the embassy was unknown.
Ebrahim Asvat, the head of 11,000-member Public Force, Panama's police agency, said that embassy authorities reported the captain missing after they found his room was empty yesterday morning.