Valedictorian Vanishes on Ecuador Hike With Family
August Reiger was just a few minutes ahead of parents on hike
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2013 12:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – Just last month, August Reiger graduated as a valedictorian from his Oklahoma advanced studies high school. On Sunday, the 18-year-old National Merit Scholar was hiking in Ecuador during a family vacation with his parents and younger brother when he disappeared. He had gone on ahead by himself, and was not at the mountaintop when his family arrived—nor at their hotel when they got back, the Oklahoman reports. "Whatever happened to him was in the space of five or 10 minutes. We were right behind him," his father says. "He couldn't have gotten lost. The whole of the trail is visible from the hotel. You can see the way down. It's a tourist area, and it's not isolated at all. If he was hurt on the trail, somebody would have seen him."

Police, firefighters, volunteers, and even the military have been searching for the teen; his father says authorities believe he either fell off a ledge or was kidnapped. But Banos, where the family was vacationing, is considered safe and has never seen a kidnapping, his father says, and the family has not received a ransom call. The family has hired an American who lives in Ecuador as a translator (August, his dad notes, speaks Spanish) and his father tells KOKH-TV he'll remain in the country until the teen is found. Says one of August's friends, "He has got a full ride scholarship to OU; he's got a full life waiting for him in OKC."

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
Jun 22, 2013 9:26 AM CDT
If he strayed from the trail for a few minutes it can become easy to lose sight of the trail and lose one's sense of direction, becoming more and more lost. There may be problems I do not know about but it seems if he was not hurt or held by others that a cell phone should have solved the whole problem and I wonder why there is no mention of any effort to call him. Cell phones are so ubiquitous. There is always the chance his disappearance is voluntary.
Jun 21, 2013 8:30 AM CDT
Check old wells & sinkholes.
Jun 20, 2013 4:14 PM CDT
Lets hope he can fare better than Boren's chosen idiots who live in New Cate (now called Boren Hall.) You see, those national merit scholars arrive to OU thinking their poo does not smell. They have all kinds of special privileges to make their "learning" experience go better than usual. These are your finest future managers of 7-11 out there. First of all, their attendance requirement for a class is modified. They attend when they darn well feel like doing so. Someone called me to task on that comment before and I witnessed it as student in an honor's course. No, I was not one of Boren's chosen idiots but I got permission to take honor's classes because of the degree I was obtaining. My attendance in most courses was right at 100 percent. If I was not in class, I was attending a seminar related to classwork and the instructor usually went ahead and marked me as present. So in this one honors program class we had 20 people enrolled. At any given class time, there were 10 attending. I asked the honor's professor why attendance was so bad. He said honors students are not required to attend as long as they pass the tests. But he issued so many quizzes about the materials we covered. We also did special group participation projects. By the time the class ended, he told me it was joy having me in the class and he would recommend me going forward for any honors program class I wanted to attend. I took him up on that offer and was admitted to many other honors program classes until I graduated. I got the email from the adviser it was time to look at my graduation progress. He pulled up my file and asked how in the world I had done so many honors courses. I told him it was important to impress the first one and the rest came easy. He asked how I pulled off A's in those classes. I replied that honors courses are not difficult if its something you like, since I hand picked them, they were. I put in the least effort in honors courses while at O.U. than any other course I took. What bothered me the most about it was I still did not get benefits such as unlimited library privileges, no return date, no book limit, and no limit on the access limited collections. I had to go around and collect signatures from deans and/or vice presidents to get access to secure collections. An honor student goes right in and pulls anything he or she desires. It could be a Mayan Codex or a Gutenberg Bible.