Kenny DeLand Jr., Missing College Student Spain: Safe

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The safe recovery of an American college student who disappeared in the middle of Europe’s media coverage prompted a lot of attention.

Kenny DeLand Jr. is planning to fly home according to his family who said that their son was safe in Spain Friday morning.

“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,”View a message from the family.

DeLand had been studying abroad at the University Grenoble Alpes in France when he was reported missing earlier this month. He is a student at St. John Fisher University, Rochester, New York.

He last had contact with his family on Nov. 27, when he messaged his father on WhatsApp. According to his family, DeLand attended class on the next day and left his home with his host family to board a train for Valence on Nov. 29th.

DeLand only packed his cell phone, wallet, some food and a change of clothing for the trip.

His phone rang at Valence station on Nov. 30, while surveillance footage showed him entering sporting goods stores on Dec. 3. But he never reached out to his family or close friends during those two weeks.

Eric Vaillant, the public prosecutor in Grenoble, told Inside Edition that he had been informed that DeLand was found in Spain and had spoken to his parents. 

Questions remain however as to why DeLand was not in communication with his family, why his WhatsApp was turned off, or how he ended up in Spain. The distance from Valence to Spain’s border is approximately 550 mi.

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