Ken Deland, an American college student went missing in France for more than two weeks, a former intern in the office of a New York state senator, the politician recalls how the now-missing 22-year-old “brought positive energy every day.”
DeLand, entered the University of St. John Fisher in Rochester, New York, it was last heard on November 27.
The college student, who is studying abroad at the University of Grenoble-Alpes, was last seen about 85 miles away on surveillance video at a convenience store in Montelimar, France.
Bank statements show he made an $8.40 purchase around 9 a.m. on Dec. 3 and has not been seen since.
KEN DELAND: FATHER OF MISSING US COLLEGE STUDENT IN FRANCE WARNS OTHER PARENTS ABOUT EDUCATION ABROAD
“The news of Ken’s disappearance is disturbing and certainly caught everyone by surprise,” state Sen. Pam Helming, a Republican who represents New York’s 54th Senate District, said in a statement to Fox News Digital. I first met Ken when he was in high school and presented him with a proclamation at an Eagle Scout ceremony. Ken later became an intern in my Senate office from 2019 to 2020 and brought a positive energy every day.”
“I pray that he is found safe and comes home soon to be with his family,” she added.
DeLand’s father, who also goes by the name Ken DeLand, told Fox News Digital earlier Monday that his son is studying psychology and plans to become a lawyer after graduation. He too went to French language courses throughout high school and saw studying abroad as an opportunity to improve his language skills.
The elder DeLand said he asked a French university and AIFS Abroad to get more information about any friends and acquaintances the 22-year-old was with abroad, or simply any other details that could lead to his whereabouts, but the agencies cited privacy restrictions preventing their release.
Because Kenny is an adult, the student was required to sign a waiver allowing private information to be released to others, including his own parents, according to the elder DeLand.
“Well, if he’s absent, he can’t sign anything. And going into it, I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that this would ever happen,” the elder DeLand said. “I don’t know everything about the legality and stuff. I’m just a parent concerned about my child’s whereabouts.’
In a statement to Fox News Digital, St. John’s Fisher University said it “will continue to do everything it can to assist in the investigation to locate Kenneth DeLand.”
“University officials remain in close contact with the American Institute of Foreign Studies (AIFS), which is working with local law enforcement agencies on the search, and with Kenneth’s family to offer them support at this time,” a university spokesperson said. “Our campus community remains hopeful that Kenneth will be found safe and come home.”
University vacations only start on Saturday.
The State Department said it was “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 Fox News Digital spokesperson said. “The State Department has no higher priority than welfare and safety US citizens abroad. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to US citizens in need and their families.”
DeLand’s family said it was out of character for their son to contact them.