WASHINGTON — An American college student who was reported missing while studying abroad in France has reached out to relatives and is safe in Spain, his family has announced.
Kenny DeLand Jr. called his family early Friday morning, they said in a statement posted on the website that had been established in hopes of finding him. The 21-year-old had "seen himself on the news," the statement added.
"We are so happy to announce that Kenny is safe; we received a call from Kenny in the early morning hours on December 16, 2022. Kenny is in Spain, and Carol (his mom) is in France, preparing to see Kenny and hopefully bring him home for Christmas," the statement said.
Earlier in the day, DeLand Jr.'s father was in the middle of a call with CNN when he suddenly hung up and later messaged to say he'd just spoken with his son.
Ken DeLand Sr. reportedly told CNN that “He is alive – that’s all I can say."
DeLand Jr. is a student at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, and was studying this fall at a school in Grenoble, France. His classmates reported him missing on Nov. 29 and an investigation was launched.
The woman who hosted DeLand Jr. while he studied in France previously said she thought he may have left voluntarily, which a local French prosecutor investigating the disappearance echoed. He apparently left his host family and took a two-hour train ride from Grenoble to Valence, France. His phone was pinged there on November 30, according to his dad.
Interpol issued a Yellow Notice for Deland Jr. this week. According to the agency, those notices are issued to help find missing persons, often minors, or to help identify people who can't identify themselves.
The family has yet to say what exactly DeLand Jr. told them Friday morning or where he's been the past two weeks.