Missing In Peru, Searching For American Couple With Valley Ties
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
Kidnapped, hurt, or worse, a Fresno family can only wait and pray as the search for this young couple continues in Peru.
Since November of 2012, 25-year old Garrett Hand and his girlfriend 27-year-old Jamie Neal have been traveling through South America on bicycles.
Fresno family members say they have been following the bay area couple's adventure, as they checked in on social media sites.
However, weeks ago, all communication stopped.
Pictures from the couple on their trip show them smiling, enjoying the company of new friends that they have met along the way.
Family members say Garrett and Jamie's bike tour began around Thanksgiving.
They started in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The couple traveled through the mountains to Chili, and eventually to Cusco, Peru, along the way documenting their adventures daily on facebook and at least once a week, they would talk to family back in California through Skype.
Then, on January 25th, all communication stopped.
Garrett's mother, Francine Fitzgerald says, "The last communication we had with them they were boarding a bus in Cusco, Peru headed to Lima. Garrett's ipod posted the location on facebook."
But after that, the couple hasn't checked in.
Francine says, "We are alarmed, all communication through facebook, emails, and even financial transactions all stopped on January 25th."
Ironically, just weeks before the couple went missing, the U.S. Embassy posted this warning to all U.S. citizens of potential kidnapping threats in the Cusco area, by a criminal organization.
Francine says, "We are just praying and hoping they come home soon."
If you have any information about the missing couple, you are asked to contact the Office of American Citizen Services, at email@example.com