Cycling Couple Missing in Peru
Another couple engaged in adventure cycling are now missing in Peru.
Peruvian authorities have expressed concern that Jamie Neal and Garrett Hand have been kidnapped, and the U.S. State Department has announced that they will be searching for them.
The couple left for Peru in December from San Francisco, and were last heard from on Jan. 25, according to media reports.
Neal has stopped posting pictures of the trip on Facebook and Hand no longer answers his cellphone.
“Until someone shows me proof that she’s not missing, I don’t believe it,” Jennifer Neal, one of Jamie’s sisters, told reporters.
The couple was last seen on Jan. 26 taking a bus from Cusco to Lima and then getting in a cab, KTVU reports.
The State Department’s website states that traveling on Peruvian roads can be treacherous. Further they write:
Drivers should not travel alone on rural roads, even in daylight. Convoy travel is preferable. … Fog is common on coastal and mountain highways, and the resulting poor visibility frequently causes accidents. Inter-city bus travel is dangerous. Armed robbers, who force passengers off buses and steal their belongings, sometimes hold up inter-city buses at night. Bus accidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries are common, and they are frequently attributed to excessive speed, poor bus maintenance, and driver fatigue. Because of these safety concerns, the U.S. Peace Corps in Peru restricts American Peace Corps volunteers’ use of overnight inter-city buses and requires Peace Corps volunteers who make inter-city bus trips to use certain bus lines with good safety records. Current approved lines are Cruz del Sur, Linea, Movil Tours, CIAL, OLTURSA, Ormeño, TEPSA, and ITTSA.
The U.S. State Department has made a poster of Neal and Hand, while the U.S. Embassy in Peru’s website posted a travel warning for Americans.
The State Department also notes that the Shining Path, a revolutionary movement that has been active in Peru for years, still targets Americans and other foreigners, and that there have been sporadic incidents in the rural provinces of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Huanuco, Junin, and San Martin.