A bright young scholar from Oklahoma has gone missing in Ecuador and is believed to be kidnapped. August Reiger, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, was on a graduation-present vacation in Ecuador with his family when he suddenly disappeared.
Here is what you need to know about the lost young American:
1. He Vanished While Hiking
While hiking with his family on June 16 in the Ecuadorian highlands around the city of Banos, a notable tourist center, August Reiger disappeared. According to Oklahoma's local NBC affiliate KJRH, Reiger went ahead of his family on a scenic mountain trail. By the time the rest of the family reached the top, he was gone.
Although the U.S. State Department says that crime is a major issue in Ecuador, kidnappings are only common to the north along the nation's border with crime-ridden Colombia, while Banos is located in the south. The State Department says:
At least 11 U.S. citizens are known to have been victims of kidnapping in this region in the past 11 years.
2. He Was Last Seen Heading Toward the Amazon in a Truck
The most recent update in the story of Reiger's disappearance came the evening of June 24 when Ecuadorian police said that he had been spotted inside a pickup truck headed into the Amazon, according to Kfor Oklahoma. This has led the family to believe their son may have been kidnapped. So far the family has not been contacted by any kidnappers, nor have they been asked for a ransom.
3. Barack Obama Called Him a 'Missing Patriot'
After being briefed on the details of Reiger's disappearance and possible kidnapping, Barack Obama officially labelled the 18-year-old a "missing patriot." Reaching out to the president came with an ongoing campaign to get more government officials involved. The family released via Facebook the following statement:
please contact your congressman and let them know that they have people in their district that are directly effected by the loss of August Reiger…having Congressmen contacting the American Embassy in Quito, Ecuador will be the greatest help.
4. He Was a Valedictorian
Reiger recently graduated as the valedictorian of his class at the Classen School of Advanced Study in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to the Daily Mail, Reiger was recently offered a scholarship to University of Oklahoma.
The trip to Ecuador was a graduation gift from his family.
5. There is a Facebook Page Set Up to Find Him
A Facebook page has been created dedicated to helping to find August Reiger and pressuring action out of the government. The page, "Find August Reiger," already has over 2,500 likes on Facebook and was created on June 20.