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American student Ken DeLand Jr. disappeared while studying abroad in France


An American student was reported missing by his family while studying abroad in France.

The parents of 22-year-old Ken DeLand Jr. have set up a website to share information about their son, who they say has been missing since last month.

They say they last heard of their son, known as Kenny, on November 27 as he boarded a train for Valence in south-eastern France.

The family say they “fear the worst and want him located”.

DeLand Jr. was studying at the University of Grenoble Alpes in France as part of a study abroad program. On Sunday, November 27, he left the residence of his host family and headed for Valence, two hours by train from Grenoble, according to the website set up by his family in the United States. Her family say she last spoke to her via text. WhatsApp service and I haven’t heard from him since.

His study program was due to end on December 17 and his visa expires early next year, they say on the website.

The Grenoble prosecutor’s office said in a press release that it had opened an investigation following a report, on November 29 “by students, of the worrying disappearance of a 21-year-old American student who came to Grenoble to study French”.

“The young man allegedly told several people that he had arrived in France insufficiently prepared and that he was having trouble making friends,” the statement said. “He seems to have left Grenoble voluntarily,” he added, noting that “he also mentioned that he wanted to go to Marseille before returning to the United States.”

DeLand Jr. had been in “constant communication” with his family while in France, his father, also named Ken DeLand, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​in an interview that aired Monday morning.

DeLand Jr. was last seen making a purchase at 9 a.m. on December 3, 2022. Ken DeLand/Facebook

“He contacted me almost every day, sometimes every other day,” the father said.

“Kenny is a friendly, outgoing student, young man,” he added. “He loves to travel. So this trip was something he looked forward to and really enjoyed.

The private St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, confirmed that DeLand Jr. was a student there.

The University told NBC News it will continue to do everything possible to help with investigations to find DeLand Jr. University officials were in “close contact” with the study abroad agency. , American Institute for Foreign Study, which works with French law. execution of the search, a university spokesperson said.

“Our university community remains hopeful that Kenneth will be found safe and return home,” the spokesperson added.

DeLand Jr.’s family said they filed a missing person’s report with French police, meaning authorities would be notified if he needed to board a train or flight to leave France in using his passport.

A surveillance camera captured DeLand Jr. entering a sports store in Montélimar, southeastern France, on December 3, where he made a purchase for $8.40, parents said.

DeLand Jr.’s Facebook page shows photos and videos from his recent trips to France, but has been inactive since Nov. 19, eight days before his family said they last heard from him.

He is about 6 feet tall and weighs 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red jacket, scarf, gray beanie, blue jeans, black backpack and sneakers, according to the family-created website.

Caroline Radnofsky contributed.

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