When Jamie Neal and Garrett Hand went off to do a months long bike trip through South America, they never could have guessed that their adventure would put them in the middle of an international missing persons scandal. But that is exactly what happened. The couple, last seen in Lima, Peru on January 25, had been documenting their trip through a blog and Facebook and then went radio silent more than a month ago.
Now the Peruvian tourist minister has told the families not to worry. He says the couple is on a boat in a remote, "paradise-like" part of the country and can't be in touch, but that they have "fallen in love with the country." He claims they are having SO much fun that they have forgotten to contact family (or to use their bank accounts).
Hand's mother isn't buying it. And who can blame her? See below:
The Cusco region in Peru is a highly tourist-filled area, with thousands of people trekking each year out to see Machu Picchu and the stunning ruins. But it's also sometimes, like anywhere else, a dangerous area where just recently there were kidnapping threats made against American tourists.
Hand's mother is right to be concerned. Something isn't sitting right here. The tourist minister seems a little too eager to highlight the lush beauty of Peru and doesn't find it odd at all that a couple who had previously been in non-stop touch suddenly fell off the map.
If this is the truth, then they have a whole lot of explaining to do. Why would they drop off the planet like that? What a cruel thing to do to their family. Their mothers should know them best and should know whether that is a likely scenario. So with his mother having doubts, it makes me doubt, too.
One month without contact is a long, long time. Especially if it wasn't planned. My parents recently spent a month in that region, and it was always very clear when they were going off the grid and when they would come back.
Something isn't right here. For the families, of course, I hope it's simple. I hope they are safe and that they merely lost contact. Of course, if that is the case, they have a lot of explaining to do. If not and if the Peruvian government is hiding something, they should be ashamed. They have just lost precious time in finding this couple by trying to earn some tourist revenue.
Do you think the couple is really found?