The Missing Americans Project

Looking for People and Answers

When a U.S. citizen disappears in a foreign country, the family quickly finds that they're on their own. We've been there and want to help.

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Looking for Americans Lost in Foreign Countries

Families of Americans who disappear in foreign countries should not have to invent the wheel. Unfortunately, this is what too often happens: people in deep distress have to learn how to run an international search and rescue operation, raise funds, cultivate relationships with nongovernmental organizations, and work with the media -- all within hours of learning their loved one is missing. The absence of clear standard operating procedures within and among U.S. embassies and a lack of State Department support leads to an unconscionable waste of time when time is of the essence.

The Missing Americans Project is intended to:

* Build awareness of the problems of Americans missing in foreign countries;
* Increase the accountability and transparency of U.S. State Department processes where missing Americans are concerned.
* Lobby for legal and policy changes where necessary.
* Develop a global rapid-response network that is not subject to the same bureaucratic wrangling as the U.S. State Department is.
* Advocate for the interests of the families of missing Americans.

Blog Posts

Arizona Resident Missing in Spain

A search is on in Spain for Denise Thiem, a Litchfield Park woman who is missing and hasn't been heard from in almost a month.

"She's always been smart, well traveled," Denise's brother, Cedric, who's in Spain searching for her, said. "This is all kind of a mystery. I think she wanted to go see what's out there and figure out what she wants to do."

Denise left her job in the Valley at a Petsmart a few months ago and started traveling. She kept in touch with Cedric until the…

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Posted by Jeff Dunsavage on June 30, 2015 at 8:22pm

A Happy Ending in Honduras

Aaron Rose, a young American on vacation with his family on the island of Roatan, Honduras, took a kayak off the island's West End yesterday to watch the sun set and was pulled out to sea. Today, he was rescued by U.S. Blackhawk helicopters from Joint Task Force Bravo in Soto Cano, Honduras. 

Aaron's story is of great personal significance to me because …

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Posted by Jeff Dunsavage on June 11, 2015 at 7:30pm

Jaco Drownings Highlight Costa Rica Riptide Peril

Costa Rica is widely regarded as one of the safest travel destinations in Central America. It certainly doesn’t have the murder rate of, say, Honduras. There is at least one peril, however, for which the country is hard to rival: drownings.

Several recent drownings in separate incidents off Jaco, CR, underscore the treacherous riptides and the lack of life…

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Posted by Jeff Dunsavage on June 10, 2015 at 8:55pm

Update on Drowning of Richard Jean-Georges in Jaco, Costa Rica

WJAR's coverage of the death of Richard Jean-Georges, the Rhode Island police officer who drowned this week in a riptide off the beach of Jaco, Costa Rica. Includes an interview with the mother of Lynda Nield, another Rhode Islander who drowned off Jaco last year. Richard's drowning follows that of Sam Karadsheh, who drowned off Jaco last month and at least 8 others who have drowned in Costa Rica's riptides since Sam's death.

Please share widely -- these deaths were…

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Posted by Jeff Dunsavage on June 10, 2015 at 5:38am

After 3 Drownings in Less Than 10 Days, Another U.S. Tourist Pulled Out to Sea by Jaco, Costa Rica, Riptide

Less than a month after Texas resident Sam Karadsheh drowned off the beach at Jaco, Costa Rica -- pulled out to sea by one of Costa Rica's treacherous riptides -- a Rhode Island police officer has gone missing from the same beach. Mr. Karadsheh was at…

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Posted by Jeff Dunsavage on June 9, 2015 at 7:46am

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