Peru posts photos of American couple; family confirms they are s - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Peru posts photos of American couple; family confirms they are safe

Peruvian authorities released images of Garrett Hand, left, and Jamie Neal, Thursday. The couple was believed missing since January. Peruvian authorities released images of Garrett Hand, left, and Jamie Neal, Thursday. The couple was believed missing since January.
By Catherine E. Shoichet and Rafael Romo, CNN
updated 6:36 AM EST, Fri March 1, 2013

(CNN) -- For more than a month, Garrett Hand and Jamie Neal went off the grid.

But new photos of the couple -- who family members had reported missing in Peru -- surfaced online Thursday, posted by officials to prove that the pair were safe and sound, enjoying their South American vacation.

A Facebook page for Peru's tourism ministry published several photographs showing the couple smiling and posing with authorities.

The U.S. Embassy in Lima also confirmed that Hand and Neal were "safe and sound." And Hand's mother released a statement saying she'd spoken with her son.

In Facebook posts Wednesday, Hand and Neal assured friends they were alive and well, and wrote they had been out of contact for more than a month because they had been traveling in Amazon villages without electricity, Internet or phone service.

The couple, who hail from the San Francisco area, left in November and began a series of social media posts chronicling the trip of their dreams -- a four-month bike adventure through South America.

Their online posts stopped in late January, prompting concern from family members. Saying calls to their cell phones had gone unanswered and bank transactions had stopped, relatives told reporters they feared the worst and asked for authorities to help find the couple.

On Wednesday, relieved family members told reporters that the travelers were safe and sound. They thanked the Peruvian government, the U.S. Embassy and others for their help.

"I am so happy today that my son is well," Francine Fitzgerald, Hand's mother, said in a statement. "Now our family will have to process all of this, and I think this will take some time. I can't wait to see Garrett and Jamie walking off the plane and into my arms."

Peru is known for the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, located in the Cusco region, which attract hundreds of thousands of international travelers each year. Some remote areas of the country are out of cell phone and Internet reach.

When the couple was spotted traveling in a small boat on a remote jungle river, Peruvian officials said they were clearly enjoying their trip and weren't aware that their families were looking for them.

"These two young people have fallen in love with Peru," Jose Luis Silva, Peru's tourism minister, told CNN on Tuesday. "They have visited off-the-beaten-path places, and it seems like they're having a blast -- so much so that they have forgotten to communicate with their families."

On Wednesday, a post on Neal's Facebook page said that authorities had taken the couple to a military base, where they were fielding questions and being photographed.

"The Peruvian military gave us our own house to stay in," she wrote, "and food and a bunch of booze to drink."

All the attention was "insane," Neal said.

"I may delete my Facebook when I get home."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • How To Spot A Fake Debt Collector

    How To Spot A Fake Debt Collector

    If a debt collector comes calling, you should go researching. That's the new advice coming from Yahoo! Finance to avoid getting scammed.Even if you get swindled, you're still on the hook to a real debt collector! That's the law.One way to spot a fraud is to look at how old the debt is. If it's 10 to 15 years old, chances are there aren't grounds for a lawsuit.Mandi Woodruff of Yahoo! Finance recommends, “Another way you can tell if you're dealing with a fraud or not is to look at the name of ...More >>
    If a debt collector comes calling, you should go researching. That's the new advice coming from Yahoo! Finance to avoid getting scammed.Even if you get swindled, you're still on the hook to a real debt collector! That's the law.One way to spot a fraud is to look at how old the debt is. If it's 10 to 15 years old, chances are there aren't grounds for a lawsuit.Mandi Woodruff of Yahoo! Finance recommends, “Another way you can tell if you're dealing with a fraud or not is to look at the name of ...More >>
  • Peanut Allergies No More!

    Peanut Allergies No More!

    Good news for the three million Americans who are allergic to peanuts.Researchers at North Carolina A T's School of Agriculture developed a new technique to remove peanut allergens.They say shelled and skinless peanuts can be treated with an enzyme that breaks down certain proteins that can trigger food–related allergies.Researchers say the process does not change the peanut's shape or shelf life.For more info, click HERE for the USDA info.More >>
    Good news for the three million Americans who are allergic to peanuts.Researchers at North Carolina A T's School of Agriculture developed a new technique to remove peanut allergens.They say shelled and skinless peanuts can be treated with an enzyme that breaks down certain proteins that can trigger food–related allergies.Researchers say the process does not change the peanut's shape or shelf life.For more info, click HERE for the USDA info.More >>
  • Church in Northwest Fresno Vandalized

    Church in Northwest Fresno Vandalized

    Police are looking for the vandal that left the walls and front door of a northwest Fresno church spray painted. An administrator at St. Anthony of Padua church discovered the graffiti Saturday morning when arriving to work.One of the churches front doors and the walls around it had been spray painted with bizarre images and words.If you have any information that could help police identify the person who did this, call the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-7000.More >>
    Police are looking for the vandal that left the walls and front door of a northwest Fresno church spray painted. An administrator at St. Anthony of Padua church discovered the graffiti Saturday morning when arriving to work.One of the churches front doors and the walls around it had been spray painted with bizarre images and words.If you have any information that could help police identify the person who did this, call the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-7000.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KMPH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.