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ECUADOR – Friends and family of the missing Classen School of Advanced Studies valedictorian are still searching in Ecuador more than a week later.

Now they are getting help from the United States government.

President Barack Obama has officially declared August Reiger a “missing patriot.”

Straight from the family after meeting with Ecuadorian officials, police said Reiger has been spotted inside a pick-up truck headed towards the Amazon region.

Warnings have been issued in provinces spanning the entire country.

Pres. Obama has kicked the search into high gear and the family will continue to have meeting with government officials in Ecuador, including Interior Minister Jose Serrano.

Family members here said the more pressure the better.

“Obviously he’s gone and we can’t find out where he is,” cousin Laura Laporte said. “It’s very nice to hear that the U.S. government is giving us attention and getting involved.”

Close cousin to August Reiger, Laura Laporte, said their family is small and close.

She is one of the only ones not in Ecuador searching.

Instead, she is here sharing his story.

“He’s sweet,” Laporte said. “People love him. He has big plans.”

She wants everyone to know the family believes Reiger disappearing on his own terms is out of the question.

“What we know in our hearts is that he’s not runaway,” Laporte said. “I have read that a couple of places that some people feel like he has done this intentionally. We know August and that’s just not something that could have been possible.”

She has had to come to terms with what she said she fears the most, kidnapping.

“If that’s the case, we want to plead for mercy,” Laporte said. “We want to plead to the people who may have him keep him safe and bring him home.”

Back home, all Laporte can do is worry and spread the word.

The Facebook page “Find August Reiger” is being shared by thousands.

They are urging supporters to ask their congressman to reach out to the American embassy in Quito, Ecuador.

“The more pressure we have on the situation the better,” Laporte said.

More pressure means the faster Reiger can get back to the life he has waiting for him.

“We obviously want August home,” Laporte said. “We’ll do anything to do that at this point.”

Vigil Held June 27th. See that story here.