The family of an American college student who reportedly went missing while studying abroad in France is asking the public for help.
Ken DeLand, 21, was spending the fall semester of his senior year at Université Grenoble Alpes, a large university about 90 minutes from the city of Lyon. DeLand was staying with a host family, according to a website created by his family, and was last known on November 27, when he communicated with his family via WhatsApp.
DeLand’s family said they have been in communication with authorities. He has been added to the French. missing persons list and your passport will ring if you try to leave the country by train.
Eric Vaillant, the Grenoble prosecutor, told CBS News that his office also opened an investigation into DeLand’s disappearance after “a student report” was made on November 29.
DeLand is a student at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York. His international studies will end on December 17 and his visa allowing him to stay in France will expire on January 20, 2023, her family said. Vaillant said he also had information that DeLand wanted to visit Marseille, France, before leaving the country.
“We fear the worst and want him located,” they wrote on the website, where people can submit anonymous tips or other information about his whereabouts.
DeLand was reportedly traveling by train from his host family’s residence to Valence, France, a city that is about 60 miles from the university where he studied.
Since then, the only information DeLand’s family has about his location is that his cell phone was reportedly intercepted on November 30 and that a small purchase was made using DeLand’s credit card in the city of Montemilar. on December 3. Montemilar is a small city. about 40 miles from Valence, between Valence and Grenoble Alpes University.
Vaillant said he also had information that DeLand wanted to visit Marseille, France, before leaving the country.
There has been no activity on DeLand’s social media pages or WhatsApp account, his family said.
DeLand, who is approximately 6 feet tall and weighs 190 pounds, was last seen wearing a red jacket, gray hat and blue jeans. The last known image of DeLand shows him entering a store, which French authorities identified as a Decathlon sporting goods store in Montelimar.
CBS News tried to contact DeLand through the phone number listed on his Facebook account, but received an automated response that the number “has been changed, disconnected, or is no longer in service.” A short message sent to his WhatsApp account was not delivered.
Elaine Cobbe contributed to this report.