American Detained in North Korea Utterly Alone

Matthew Miller left no family contact info, no one looking for him: tour group
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 28, 2014 7:18 AM CDT
North Korean military stand facing a row of new fire engines, donated to North Korea by the Russian government, during a ceremony in Pyongyang on Monday, April 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

(Newser) – Matthew Todd Miller, the 24-year-old American detained in North Korea earlier this month, traveled to the country by himself—and so far, there's no sign of family looking for him, the travel company that put together his trip tells the New York Times. He didn't leave any contact information for relatives, no family member has called Uri Tours since news of his detention broke on Friday, and the organization has been unable to reach his emergency contact, it says. Uri Tours' director, John Dantzler-Wolfe, says the company was "informed early on that Mr. Miller had deliberately ripped his visa and had declared that he was ‘not a tourist.'"

"Since that time, we have been working with the appropriate diplomatic, governmental, and local agencies to resolve the situation." Dantzler-Wolfe tells Reuters (which has also had no luck tracking down Miller's family) that the group "cannot speak to Mr. Miller's motivations or mental state. He did not express any special intentions in his tour application." His only request that stood out: that only locals act as tour guides; typically foreign guides are used as well. The US State Department is addressing the issue through Sweden, whose embassy has previously acted on behalf of US citizens.

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