Kenny DeLand Jr., a missing American college student, was found in Spain three weeks after he walked out of the University of Grenoble Alpes and apparently stopped communicating with friends and family.
According to the Grenoble prosecutor, DeLand called his father on Friday after not being heard since November 27. The prosecutor’s office said DeLand sounded fine, and his family confirmed his safety in a statement.
“Kenny is in Spain, and Carol (his mother) is in France, preparing to see Kenny and hopefully bring him home for Christmas,” DeLand’s family said in a statement, thanking the FBI, American lawmakers, French officials, and the schools involved.
“Kenny would not have seen himself in the news and reached out to us if it hadn’t been for the media,” the statement continued.
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DeLand’s family announced on their website that he “has been found” on Friday.
“THANK YOU to everyone for assisting us in bringing Kenny home!” said the message on the website.
His family previously stated that they last heard from their son on the popular WhatsApp messaging app after he left his host’s home and was on his way to Valence, France.
His son’s phone was last pinged on Nov. 30, according to his father. On December 3, a surveillance camera caught him walking inside a sporting goods store.
PHOTO: Ken DeLand’s family provided this photo of him.
Ken DeLand’s family provided this photo of him.
DeLand Jr. was studying French at the University of Grenoble Alpes as part of the American Institute for Foreign Study study abroad program (AIFS). According to his parents, he was a senior at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York.
Ken DeLand Jr. was having difficulties in France, according to Grenoble prosecutor Eric Vaillant, and expressed a desire to leave early.
According to Vaillant, DeLand Jr. told several people that he arrived in France “insufficiently prepared” and struggled to make friends. “He was in a bad mood. He had expressed a desire to depart earlier by traveling to Marseille.”