Concord's Francine Fitzgerald, Garrett Hand's mother, released a statement today in which she urges caution at the news that her son and his girlfriend, Jamie Neal, have been located on a Peruvian river.
"We have received phone calls from the U.S. Embassy and Peruvian government that my son Garrett Hand and his girlfriend Jamie Neal have been spotted in a remote village in Peru," Fitzgerald said in her statement. "The information told to me is that they are on a boat on the river and that they are sending a plane to find them. I am told to expect information by tomorrow sometime.
"While I appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the media, the U.S. and Peruvian governments, until I hear from and see my son directly, we will not stop. This young couple is someone’s son and brother, someone’s daughter and sister and United States citizens. We have not heard from them since January 25, nor have they accessed bank accounts since that time. We have only the worst to consider as to why.
"Thank you those of you who are helping – friends, family, reporters, officials – and our task is done when Garrett and Jamie are home and safe."
According to a KGO-TV report on Garrett Hand and Jamie Neal:
Peruvian police say they have made contact with Garrett Hand and Jamie Neal, an East Bay couple that friends and family thought had gone missing during a South American bike trip.
The Peruvian tourism ministry says the couple is traveling on a boat along the Navos River. The couple says they were unaware they had been reported as missing.
Earlier Report: Missing Cyclist's Mother Frantic For His Return
Francine Fitzgerald is reaching out to anyone she can think of to help her find her missing son, who disappeared in Peru on Jan. 26.
Concord resident Francine Fitzgerald is living out a mother’s worst nightmare. Her son , also 25, were on a bicycle tour of South America starting in November. On Jan. 26, they suddenly disappeared in Peru. Now Fitzgerald is desperate to find out where they are, and most especially, make sure they are all right.
“They have been putting their journey on Facebook,” Fitzgerald said Monday. “They’ve been posting pictures. They were happy and healthy, and they would call us on Skype every eight or nine days.”
They started their adventure in Argentina, then went through Chile. On Jan. 25, as they entered Peru, the Facebook entries stopped. So did the Skype calls. Weeks later, there is still no word.
Fitzgerald’s daughter had Garrett’s computer password, which allowed them access to his bank account and Hotmail account.
“We became very alarmed at that point, because all of his bank and email transactions stopped on Jan. 25,” she said.
Fitzgerald contacted the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru. The embassy website is warning Americans of the threat of kidnapping.
“Now alarms are going off,” Fitzgerald said. “The American embassy, Peruvian police, are all helping us try to find Garrett and Jamie. We are hoping for the best that he’s safe. We’re going to keep searching until we find him.”