An American college student who was reported missing two weeks ago France He told relatives he was safe in Spain, his family said Friday, appearing to solve at least part of a mystery that sparked an international manhunt.
Kenny DeLand Jr. called his relatives early Friday morning, the family said in a news release Online reporting The 21-year-old said she “saw herself on the news”.
“We are very happy to announce that Kenny is safe,” the statement read. “Kenny is in Spain and Carol (his mum) is in France, getting ready to see Kenny and bring him home for Christmas.”
The family did not say exactly what DeLand Jr. told them or explain where he had been for the past two weeks.
Earlier Friday, his father, Ken DeLand Sr., was in the middle of a call with CNN when he was abruptly cut off — and later texted CNN that he had spoken with his son. French lawyer Eric Vaillant also told CNN DeLand Jr. spoke with his family from Spain on Friday.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes that he was actually calling,” Ken DeLand Sr. told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Friday night. “It was very emotional.”
“It seems surreal, the whole situation,” the father added. “And now it’s finally, the last chapter.”
DeLand Sr. His son has not released many details about what he has been doing in recent weeks, but said he was in Spain and asked his father to stop contacting news agencies.
“I said, ‘But Ken, this is what parents do. We care about you,'” DeLand Sr. added.
DeLand, a senior at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, attended Grenoble Alpes University, his family said. His parents said in recent days that they had not heard from him since November 27.
His fellow students reported him missing on November 29, prompting Weiland to start An investigationA Grenoble lawyer had said.
But the boy’s parents don’t believe that’s the case, his father said recently on Wednesday He condemned what he had called The authorities’ response was not urgent enough.
Interpol released Thursday Yellow Notice For DeLand, she reported him missing on November 27. According to Interpol, such alerts are issued to help locate missing persons, often minors, or to identify anyone who cannot identify themselves.
DeLand was scheduled to return to the U.S. this coming Saturday, his father said before he was found, adding that although the student wanted to go hiking, he would always stay in touch.
“It’s very unusual for my son that he doesn’t communicate without any kind of correspondence,” DeLand Sr. told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday. “It creates all the anxiety any parent can feel.”
The US State Department is aware of reports that the student is alive and safe, but is declining to provide details, a spokesperson for the department told CNN on Friday.
“We have seen a reassuring report that a US citizen who went missing in Europe has been located and has been able to speak with his family. Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to provide further details,” the spokesperson said.
When Weiland announced Monday that he was investigating DeLand Jr.’s disappearance, he said the student “left Grenoble voluntarily.”
“The young man reportedly told several people that he had just arrived in France and was having difficulty making friends,” Wieland said Monday.
The student was found on December 3 in a shop in the town of Montelimar, which is about 90 miles southwest of Grenoble, Vaillant. said.
Before returning to the United States, DeLand indicated he wanted to visit the Mediterranean city of Marseille, about 190 miles south of Grenoble, Weiland said.
Of all the students DeLand’s host mother welcomed, she seemed to have the most trouble fitting in, the woman said. This week on CNN On condition of anonymity out of concern for her privacy.
When the host mother didn’t hear from DeLand, she inundated him with messages trying to find out where he was, but he didn’t respond, she said. Knowing that he had been seen on December 3rd was reassuring because she felt that she suspected that he might have left and voluntarily cut off communication.