What ever happened to the missing 22-year-old American teacher in Germany?

Reading that Laura Dekker has been found safe and sound in St. Maartin made me think of Devon Hollahan, the American teacher living in Prague who disappeared after a Portugal and the Man concert in Frankfurt, Germany. When his friend’s back was turned, Hollahan went missing.

I wrote about Hollahan in a post about the worst nightmares of parents whose children travel overseas. I’ve been busy these last few weeks, so I forgot about him until I read about Dekker.

Hollahan’s story is not so splashy as Laura Dekker’s. It might be because his family seems like most of us. They appear to be normal, regular people whose lives tend to flow through the days like anyone else’s unless something bad happens on a slow news day. On a slow news day, normal people’s stories can make the international news. Hollahan’s bad news story was a fleeting blip on the media radar. A day or two after he was reported missing, he didn’t show up again in a big news way.

Amanda Knox’s story has had more press time than Hollahan’s. She is the other person of note in my parent’s worst nightmare post. But, when a person is found guilty of murdering her roommate which results in a 27 year jail sentence in Italy, it’s no surprise that we’d hear more about Knox–at least until Tiger Woods’s story eclipsed everyone’s bad news.

What about Hollahan, though? That’s who I want to know about–the guy who could be any one of us. After a search, I found this bit of news in The Huffington Post. Hollahan has not been found, but possibly the shoe found floating in The Main River in Frankfurt belongs to him.

It is thought that Hollahan was drunk and fell into the river. As a sad, devastating part of this tale, it’s possible that he was seen alive at 4 a.m. lying on a sidewalk. Unfortunately, whoever was on the sidewalk, got up and ran away when someone said that an ambulance was coming.

Hollahan’s body has not been found. His parents are still in their nightmare, and I wonder if Hollahan’s body is found, will there be a news story about it? My thoughts go out to his family.

Chicago backpacker gets lost (again) in Alaska

When Into the Wild, the story of Christopher McCandless’ epic adventure in the Alaskan wilderness, was published, the idea of setting off into the wild with nothing but a few pounds of rice and your wits to survive seemed terribly romantic….well, except that McCandless died because he was unprepared for the harsh conditions. Despite (or I guess, because of) that minor point, hundreds of people have followed suit to gawk at the ruins of the bus that McCandless lived, and died, in.

Over the years, several people who’ve set out for the bus have had to be rescued, costing the state around $2000 each. Understandably, many locals have have come to dislike the tourists who arrive, unprepared and ill-equipped, and put themselves in unnecessary danger. So they probably hate Don Carroll.

The Chicago-area 19-year old went looking for the bus with a friend, found it, and then got lost in the woods for three days with no food or water. The two ate berries and drank river water before being rescued by helicopter on Monday. But this isn’t Carroll’s first time being lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Back in June, Carroll, a seasonal resort employee, was hiking alone in Denali National Park and lost his way. Wearing just jeans and a hoodie, he suffered hypothermia, but managed to lead rangers to his location through text messages. He was rescued by helicopter then as well.

Caroll will head back to civilization in mid-September. Until then, hopefully he’ll stay out of the woods. It doesn’t sound like he is welcome there anyway. “If police see me in the woods, they’re going to arrest me,” he said in a phone interview. “The chief ranger said he’s not going to come looking for me anymore.”

[via Daily Herald]

Backpacker rescued after 12 days in the Australian wild

19 year-old backpacker Jamie Neale, who has been missing in the mountains of eastern Australia for the past 12 days, has been found alive and is said to be in good condition, although he is recovering from exhaustion and dehydration in a local hospital. He was discovered on a trail near Katoomba, the same town that he set out from nearly two weeks ago.

The young Brit was on holiday in Australia when he decided to go backpacking in the Blue Mountains, found approximately 60 miles to the west of Sydney. He was last seen on July 3rd, but set off without his cell phone and didn’t bother to tell anyone where he was going. He also failed to sign the log book at the trail head as well, which complicated search and rescue operations later. To add to his level of unpreparedness, he was clad in dark colored clothes that made him difficult to spot from the air, and his survival blanket was left behind when he left Perth.

The Blue Mountains are a popular destination for hikers and backpackers alike. With more than 150 miles of trail available, and thousands of more miles of untouched wilderness stretching in all directions, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the region which is listed as a World Heritage Site for its natural beauty. The landscape is marked with sandstone plateaus, deep gorges, and eucalpyt forests that are not found anywhere else on the planet.

For Neale though, the beauty of the place that he was lost in turned into an ongoing nightmare. He tells reporters that he ate seeds and various plants to stay alive, and spent his nights huddled up in his jacket trying to stay warm in the cold evening air. He even reportedly spent one night sleeping under a log.

The backpacker’s family had all but given up on finding him, and his father, who had flown in from the U.K. to help search for his son, was preparing to fly home on the vary day that he was found. Now, they’ll wait for him to fully recover before returning home, where he’s likely to not be allowed to wander out of the yard with out his cell phone ever again.

Missing: Jamaican beach

A beach has gone missing in Jamaica, and no one is blaming erosion, global warming, or stormy weather. Police suspect that someone(s) stole five hundred truckloads of white sand from a planned resort at Coral Spring Beach. The theft was in July, but no arrests have yet been made, which begs the question: How does the removal of five hundred truckloads of sand — or anything — go unnoticed?

Many suspect that there’s been some sort of cover-up, and even the police spokesperson has said that some officers were probably involved in the theft. Yet they insist there has been no cover-up. They simply say that the lack of charges in the case is due to its complexity and the number of people involved. But do they even know who was involved? That much is unclear.

Illegal sand mining is common in Jamaica because the sand is a valuable construction material. However, the volume and type of sand stolen suggests that the thieves are probably from the tourism industry, like other hotels. The beach that was stolen from Coral Springs was to be part of a $108 million resort complex, but its theft has held up the development plans.