Missing College Student France
After their son, a senior at St. John Fisher University, disappeared last month while studying abroad in France, the family of an American college student is looking for answers.
According to a website they created to assist find him, the parents of 22-year-old Ken DeLand Jr. claim they last heard from their son on November 27.
According to his father, Kenneth DeLand, the student kept in “continuous communication” with his family while attending the University Grenoble Alpes. He told the newspaper, “He would reach out to me virtually daily, sometimes every other day.
In a Monday broadcast of Good Morning America, his father said, “It’s not typical of Kenny to not reach out to us and let us know what’s going on.
DeLand Jr.’s parents said on their website that when they last heard from their son via WhatsApp on Nov. 27, “apparently, he had left his host family’s residence and boarded the train headed for Valence, France.”
The last time they got a ping from his phone was on Nov. 30. Days later, he made an $8.40 purchase at a store in Montelimar, which is also in Southeastern France, on the morning of Dec. 3 at 9 a.m., they shared on the website, alongside a surveillance photo.
“We fear the worst and want him to be located,” they added.
They say his study abroad program was scheduled to end on Dec. 17, and that his visa will expire in January.
An investigation was opened by authorities in Grenoble after students made a report on Nov. 29 about the “worrying disappearance” of a student, according to a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Grenoble’s public prosecutor said in a statement that the young man reportedly “told several people that he arrived in France insufficiently prepared and had difficulty making friends.”
In the statement, authorities said he appeared to have “left Grenoble voluntarily” and said he had “mentioned that he wanted to go to Marseille before returning to the United States.”
DeLand Jr.’s family said on their website that since their son has been reported missing in France, should he attempt to leave the country by train, “his passport will ping.”
According to his family, he was last seen wearing a red jacket, a grey beanie, blue pants, a scarf and sneakers and was carrying a black backpack.