Family releases statement days after Fisher student who went missing in Europe arrives home
UPDATE: Days after Ken DeLand Jr. arrived back home, his family released a statement thanking the community for their support when their son went missing in Europe.
DeLand went missing for nearly three weeks while he was studying abroad in France as an international student from St. John Fisher University. He contacted his family on Friday morning to let them know he was in Spain.
DeLand was reunited with his mother who traveled to France. Their flight arrived in the U.S. over the weekend. Here is the statement the family of DeLand released on Tuesday:
We continue to send our gratitude to the members of our community, the media, St. John Fisher College, and AIFS. The love and support we received while Kenny was missing were beyond measure, and our gratitude could never be enough. Kenny is a joy to many – his family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, and everyone who knows him.
What Kenny went through while he was missing is still a blur, and we, as a family, continue to be with Kenny while he heals and processes. We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received. We are grateful beyond measure to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement for their tireless efforts to find Kenny and bring him home.
We hope that everyone, including media representatives, understands the need for the family to be with Kenny and process what he has gone through in privacy without outside intrusion during this time.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Ken DeLand Jr., the St. John Fisher University student who went missing while he was studying abroad in France, is safe. It’s the outcome his family has been hoping for nearly three weeks.
“I’ll be honest with you. It was so emotional, you know, that Kenny was calling,” Ken DeLand Sr. said.
His son, Ken DeLand Jr., disappeared while studying abroad. The St. John Fisher University student left his host family’s home, was spotted making a small purchase at a sporting goods store, and contact ceased between him and his loved ones.
INTERPOL started investigating two days ago. Just before 7 a.m. Friday, the elder DeLand’s phone went off at his Sodus home.
“We’re just so happy to hear from him, and we just wanted to make sure he knew that and that we loved him. Just so happy that he’s safe,” he said.
The two spoke for about 25 minutes, with Kenny telling his dad he’s in Spain, but not his exact whereabouts.
“This morning, it was very difficult for me, but when that phone call came, it was, that was something right there,” DeLand said.
The younger DeLand, a senior, has been studying in France this semester. After he left his host family on Nov. 27th, he boarded a train for southern France – and disappeared.
“Apparently he had [seen] himself on the news, and that’s why he finally broke down to call us and get a hold of us,” DeLand said.
The family is thankful for all of the efforts to try to find Kenny.
“If it wasn’t for all the friends, family, news outlets that spread the word for him, and just people who were sincere, and just cared for this story to end well, the word wouldn’t have got to him,” DeLand said.
Currently, DeLand’s mom is in France and she is preparing to see her son. His family hopes he’ll be home for Christmas.
- NBC News: American college student who went missing in France reunited with family and heading back to U.S. (Dec. 17)
- Sodus family says French police aren’t doing enough to find missing son (Dec. 15)
- Family of missing Fisher student holds out hope (Dec. 13)
- NBC News: American college student reported missing while studying abroad in France (Dec. 12)
- Clifton Springs community prays for Fisher student who went missing in France (Dec. 11)
- French authorities open investigation into disappearance of Fisher student (Dec. 9)