A prosecutor in France has launched an investigation into the disappearance of an American college student whose family says he hasn’t been heard from in more than two weeks.
Kenny DeLand Jr.’s fellow students reported him missing on Nov. 29, prompting an investigation, according to a prosecutor’s statement released Monday, obtained by CNN.
Delant is a senior at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, and is attending Grenoble Alpes University, according to his family.
“The young man is said to have told several people that he had just arrived in France and was having difficulty making friends,” Grenoble prosecutor Eric Vaillant said in the statement.
The school is about 75 miles southeast of Lyon in eastern France.
DeLand’s parents say they haven’t heard from him since Nov. 27. “We’re just shaking our heads,” said his father, Ken DeLand Sr. CNN related to WHAM. “We don’t understand why he doesn’t approach us if he approaches us daily or every day like he does, that’s not Kenny’s character.”
DeLand “appears to have left Grenoble on his own,” Vaillant said, adding that the student was seen on Dec. 3 at a Decathlon store in the town of Montélimar, 87 miles from Grenoble.
“He also mentioned that he wanted to visit Marseille before leaving for America,” Wieland said.
DeLand was expected to leave France on December 15, according to the prosecutor’s statement.
The family says a missing person’s report has been filed, and bank records show DeLand last made a purchase at a store on Dec. 3. His family says there is no record of his whereabouts since then.
The US State Department is “aware of a report of a missing US citizen in France,” a CNN spokeswoman said Monday. They did not provide further details.
“When a U.S. citizen goes missing, we work closely with local authorities as they conduct search efforts and share information with the family as much as we can,” they said.
Deland’s family helped find him Started a website People can send tips and information.
“St. “John Fisher University will do everything in its power to investigate Kenneth DeLand,” the school said in a statement.
“University officials are in close contact with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), who are working with local law enforcement in the search, as well as Kenneth’s family, who are providing support at this time. Our campus community is hopeful that Kenneth will return home safely.
AIFS said Monday it was working with local authorities and in contact with the DeLand family.
“We hope for his speedy and safe return,” the company said in a statement.
“Lifelong social media lover. Falls down a lot. Creator. Devoted food aficionado. Explorer. Typical troublemaker.”