An American college student who went missing while studying abroad in France was “underprepared” for life abroad and may have left voluntarily, according to a French prosecutor.
Ken DeLand Jr., a senior at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, last contacted his parents on November 27 via the messaging app WhatsApp after he left his family’s home to catch a train . in Valence, France. His phone was last pinged on November 30.
Grenoble prosecutor Eric Wayan said in a statement to Fox News Digital that DeLand appears to have left the city voluntarily after having problems with his friendships.
DeLand “told several people that he arrived in France underprepared and had trouble making friends,” Wylan said.
KEN DELAND MISSING: US COLLEGE STUDENT DISAPPEARS IN FRANCE WHILE STUDYING ABROAD
The 22-year-old student studied French at the University of Grenoble-Alpes.
Vaillant also said DeLand expressed a desire to leave early for the city of Marseille before returning home to the United States. He was supposed to leave France on December 15.
The DeLand family launched the site hoping to get clues as to where he might be.
“Initially, Ken had a hard time fitting in and making friends abroad,” the family wrote. “However, he continued to stay positive and made good connections. We learned that he had told friends in the United States and France that he wanted to go to Marseilles before returning home.’
The website says DeLand was last seen wearing a red jacket, scarf, gray beanie, blue pants, black backpack and sneakers.
Family said he is about 6 feet tall and 190 pounds. They also released a surveillance photo of him walking into a sporting goods store on Dec. 3.
KEN DELAND: FATHER OF MISSING US COLLEGE STUDENT IN FRANCE WARNS OTHER PARENTS ABOUT EDUCATION ABROAD
“We fear the worst and want him found,” the family’s website says.
In accordance with french authorities DeLand was reported missing on Nov. 29 after he failed to attend classes or was seen by friends or family, prompting an investigation into his disappearance.
Classmates who saw him on campus the day before said he appeared normal and happy, according to the family’s website.
DeLand’s bank allowed police to track his purchases after learning of his disappearance. He made an $8.40 purchase at a store at 9 a.m. Dec. 3 in Montelimar, according to his bank statement.
He studied abroad through a study abroad program called the American Institute for Foreign Studies, which said it “joins others who are concerned for his safety and we are working with local law enforcement who have launched a search.”
“We have contacted Kenneth’s family and the university and look forward to his speedy and safe return,” AIFS said in a statement.
The advice the family received through their website was turned over to the FBI which is assisting international authorities in the investigation through its office in Paris.
The US Department of State said they were “aware of reports of a missing US citizen in France.”
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“When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they search, and we share information with families as soon as we can,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “The State Department has no higher priority than the well-being and safety of US citizens abroad. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to US citizens in need and their families.”