Baños, Ecuador – Family members and rescuers are searching for a local valedictorian after he went missing in Ecuador while on a hiking trip with his family.
August Reiger recently graduated from the Classen School of Advanced Studies and was preparing for his freshman year at the University of Oklahoma.
Reiger vanished on Sunday while hiking a mountain with family outside the city of Baños. Ecuadorian officials say it is rare but there is a possibility he could have been kidnapped by rebels.
While August Reiger’s immediate family is still in the South American country scouring the trails where they last saw him, friends and family are worried and feeling helpless.
“He’s a son, a brother, a friend, a boyfriend,” said Candace Lockett, the mother of August’s girlfriend.
Lockett says everyone in the Reiger family is a world traveler, so it wasn’t a surprise to her that they would venture from Oklahoma City to vacation in the South American city of Baños.
“I’ve seen the pictures of Ecaudor,” said Lockett. “It’s beautiful there. I don’t blame them.”
What does surprise her is that a young man, fluent in Spanish, could have gotten lost on a trail that was clearly visible from their hotel.
“He’s in great shape. He’s very very smart as I mentioned– National Merit Scholar, Valedictorian,” said Lockett. “If anyone knew what they were doing I’d say it was him. Maybe his fault was that he’s very curious.”
Lockett says no one is more motivated to find him than his family but it is hard for her and her daughter to wait for hours for a single email.
“When there’s no news, there’s no news,” said Lockett.
Classen classmate Konner Drye is feeling helpless thousand of miles away.
“All that we can hear about is from the news in Ecuador. That’s all that we can hear from,” said Drye. “There’s really nothing that we can do here excpet for hope and pray that he is alive and safe.”
Everyone at home just wants to know that he is okay.
“I know he’s really special because my daughter loves him,” said Lockett. “He’s a real person and someone we really want back.”
The family thinks that whatever happened to him would have happened within only five to ten minutes. They say Ecuadorian officials have been exhausting all efforts.
“I understand that they’ve actually had a lot of help,” said Lockett. “You know the firefighters, policemen, military, they’ve had dogs, they had helicopters. So the government there seems to be being very helpful.”