Officials Find Missing American Student Kenny DeLand Jr. In Spain


Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The American student who went missing abroad in France has been found alive in Spain as of Friday, officials announced.

Kenny DeLand Jr. called his parents from Spain early Friday morning and is in the process of reuniting with his mother Carol in France, the website “Find Ken DeLand” reported. The family thanked the media for notifying DeLand that he had been reported missing.

“We are so happy to announce that Kenny is safe,” the statement reads. “Kenny is in Spain, and Carol (his mom) is in France, preparing to see Kenny and hopefully bring him home for Christmas.

The student’s father, Kenneth DeLand Sr., suddenly hung up from a phone call with CNN early Friday and later messaged the outlet that his son had been found. Grenoble prosecutor Eric Vaillant said via Twitter that their son spoke to the family on the phone from Spain.

DeLand, a native of Sodus, New York, lived with a host family in Grenoble, France, while studying abroad at the University of Grenoble Alpes, CNN previously reported. His host parents told CNN that he left their home voluntarily Nov. 29 after struggling to fit in.

His friends and family had not received any communication from him since Nov. 28, the family website previously reported. They reported him missing Nov. 29, leading to a massive investigation by U.S. and French officials. He left that day with a packed sandwich, a change of clothing, his wallet and his cell phone. (RELATED: American College Student Goes Missing Abroad. His Host Family Says He Left Voluntarily) 

DeLand’s bank authorized police to track his purchases, which found that he had entered a Decathlon store in the town of Montelimar on Dec. 3 at 2:45 p.m., where he made an $8.40 purchase, according to CNN. Vaillant said he had reportedly planned to visit Marseille before returning to the U.S.

His parents doubted that he had left his host parents’ residence voluntarily, since he had appeared to have made several friends abroad, CNN previously reported. Kenneth said this silence wass uncharacteristic of his son, who had always reached out to them regularly.

He was scheduled to return home Dec. 17 at the end of the semester, the family’s website previously reported.

The family expressed gratitude to his school, St. John Fisher College, the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), French Administrations, and the FBI for assisting them in finding DeLand.

“Without everyone’s help, we wouldn’t have our son, hopefully, home for Christmas,” the statement concluded.