The Saturday Profile: Being Dead, He Learned, Is Hard to Overcome

Being Dead, He Learned, Is Hard to Overcome Photo Constantin Reliu, who was declared dead by a Romanian court, in the apartment in Barlad, Romania, that he used to share with his wife. Credit Andrei Pungovschi for The New York Times BARLAD, Romania — Reliu Constantin hadn’t been home in almost 20 years. His family had not heard from him in all that time, and he hadn’t sent any money back. All efforts to locate him in Turkey, where he had gone for work, had been fruitless.
Under the circumstances, it seemed entirely reasonable that his estranged wife asked a Romanian court to declare him legally dead. A death certificate was issued in 2016. The only problem was that Mr. Constantin was very much alive.
But that was just the beginning of Mr. Constantin’s troubles, as he discovered when he finally returned home in January. In a plot twist straight out of a Kafka novel, a different Romanian court this month refused to overturn his death certificate, leaving him in legal limbo, between life ..