It has been one year since Colorado native Aubrey Sacco disappeared on the Langtang trek in Nepal.
Aubrey, 24, remains missing in Nepal, yet there is no evidence that she is injured or not living. Her last known whereabouts is the Lama Hotel, where she ate lunch on April 22, 2010, but she has not signed into any checkpoints nor checked out of the park since.
Aubrey’s disappearance was not immediately apparent; the Saccos knew that their daughter would be out of contact for as long as ten days before she would reach the end of the trek and eventually get on a plane back to the United States. The family became concerned when Aubrey did not establish contact by May 1, but they waited with patience due to political uprisings that may have hindered her ability to reach a computer or phone. When Aubrey did not board her flight home on May 15, 2010, the concern grew exponentially until her father and brother traveled to Nepal to start a more thorough search.
Their visit yielded few results, but it did reveal a sense that the villagers had knowledge of Aubrey’s disappearance, but were not willing to disclose the whereabouts of the young, outgoing American visitor.
The Saccos have enlisted the help of thousands of supporters on Facebook, hundreds of friends and community members who have contributed to fundraising efforts, and investigators who are turning up clues concerning Aubrey’s whereabouts.
While much of the investigation is under wraps to the public, the Saccos have posted a photo of a man believed to have had contact with Aubrey in the days leading up to her disappearance.
They have also revealed the name of a woman who may have met Aubrey on the trek: Danielle Fouché, a French citizen in her 60s who is believed to be from an island in the Lesser Antilles. Ms. Fouché may have information that could help locate Aubrey, but the French government has not been cooperative in helping the family or investigators contact the woman.
The family also faces resistance when attempting to put up fliers or continue to talk to locals. According to Aubrey’s mother, Connie, Nepal’s “2011 Year of Tourism” initiative is one reason that posters with information about Aubrey’s disappearance are removed as soon as they are put up. The disappearance could deter potential visitors, detracting from a tourism industry upon which Nepal is highly dependent.
As was the case early in the investigation, locals are wary of discussing the disappearance and are presumably fearful of repercussions that could occur as a result of their sharing of any information.
Although there is a feeling of sadness surrounding the anniversary, the Sacco family is not letting up. “This family has just begun,” says Connie Sacco. She notes that there are several instances of travelers who have gone missing for as many as two years before being located.
“We will not go away, we will not give up.”
Ways you can help the Sacco family:
~ Visit www.aubreysacco.com to find more information about fundraisers and options for donation.
~ Join the Facebook group in support of Aubrey’s family and the efforts to spread the word about her disappearance.