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American student missing after French language studies in Grenoble

Ken DeLand, 22, was last spotted in a shop in Montélimar on December 3; he has not been heard for over two weeks and his family are desperate for news

Ken DeLand has not made contact with anyone for over two weeks Pic:

An American family is appealing for any news of their son who has gone missing in France.

The Grenoble parquet (public prosecutor’s office) has opened an investigation into the disappearance of Ken DeLand, 22, who came to France to study French at the University of Grenoble-Alpes and was due to go home to the US later this week.

His family last heard from him via WhatsApp just over two weeks ago, on November 27, when he had apparently left his host family’s home and boarded a train going to Valence, around 100km south-west of Grenoble.

Fellow students raised the alert on November 29 after being unable to contact him.

His bank has meanwhile provided information showing he made a purchase in a store in Montélimar, south of Valence, on December 3. He was also filmed by CCTV while shopping in the town the same day.

His family has set up a website at and state they “fear the worst and want him to be located”.

His father told ABC’s Good Morning America programme: "Kenny's a friendly, outgoing college student, a young man. He loves to travel. So, this trip has been something that he's really looked forward to and enjoyed.

“It's not like him to not get in touch and not to tell us what is happening.”

People can pass on any information via a contact form on the website.

According to the parquet, Mr DeLand had been heard to say that he felt he had come to France poorly prepared and that he was struggling to make friends. He is also reported to have mentioned wanting to go to Marseille before he returned home to the US.

He is 6ft (182cm), weighs around 86kg and has pale skin and blond hair. On the CCTV footage he was wearing a red jacket, a scarf, a grey beanie hat, dark blue jeans, trainers and a black rucksack.

He has been studying under the American Institute for Foreign Study program.

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