Ken DeLand, an American student who has been missing in France for more than two weeks, previously interned for the office of a New York state senator, as the politician recalls how the now 22-year-old missing, had “brought positive energy with him every day.”
DeLand, enrolled at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, was last heard from on Nov. 27.
The student, studying abroad at the University of Grenoble Alpes, was last seen about 85 miles away on CCTV at a store in Montelimar, France.
There, bank statements show he made a purchase for $8.40 around 9 a.m. on December 3 and has not been seen since.
KEN DELAND: FATHER OF MISSING US STUDENT IN FRANCE WARNS OTHER PARENTS TO STUDY ABROAD
“The news of Ken’s disappearance is disturbing and has certainly taken everyone by surprise,” Senator Pam Helming, a Republican representing New York State’s 54th Senate District, said in a statement to Fox News. Digital. I first met Ken when he was a senior in high school and presented him with a proclamation at his Eagle Scout ceremony. Ken then interned in my Senate office from 2019-2020 and brought positive energy with him every day.”
“I pray that he is found safe and returns home soon to be with his family,” she added.
DeLand’s father, also named Ken DeLand, told Fox News Digital earlier Monday that his son is studying psychology and aims to become a lawyer after graduation. He also took French classes throughout high school and saw studying abroad as an opportunity to improve his language skills.
The elder DeLand said he pleaded with the French university and AIFS Abroad for more information about any friends or acquaintances the 22-year-old was hanging out overseas – or anyone else. detail that could lead to its whereabouts – but the institutions cited privacy restrictions preventing its release.
Because Kenny is an adult, the student should have signed a waiver authorizing the disclosure of private information to other parties, including his own parents, according to the elder DeLand.
“Well, if he’s gone, he can’t sign something. And going there, I would never think it would be something that would happen in my wildest dreams,” the elder DeLand said. “I don’t know all about the legalities and all that. I’m just a parent worried about where my kid is.”
In a statement to Fox News Digital, St. John Fisher University said it “will continue to do everything in its power to assist in the investigation to locate Kenneth DeLand.”
“University officials have remained in close contact with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) who are working with local law enforcement on the search, as well as Kenneth’s family to offer support. during this time,” a university spokesperson said. “Our university community remains hopeful that Kenneth will be found safe and return home.”
Vacation doesn’t start for college until Saturday.
The State Department said it was “aware of reports of a US citizen missing in France.”
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“When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they conduct their search, and share information with families as we can,” a spokesperson told Fox News. Digital. “The Department of State has no higher priority than the welfare and safety of American citizens abroad. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to American citizens in need and their families.”
DeLand’s family said it was out of the question for their son not to contact them.