22-Year-Old May Have Been Abducted on Backpacking Trip

Peru authorities are searching for Jesse Galganov
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2017 1:59 PM CDT
22-Year-Old Disappears 'Into Thin Air' on Backpacking Trip
Jesse Galganov.   (GoFundMe)

A 22-year-old with dreams of traveling the world has disappeared in the middle of an eight-month backpacking trip through South America and Southeast Asia. Jesse Galganov, who is from Montreal and plans to start medical school in Philadelphia next fall, was last heard from around Sept. 28, when he texted his mom telling her he was about to start hiking the 31-mile Santa Cruz trail through Peru's Cordillera Blanca Mountains and might be unreachable until Oct. 2. But no one has heard from him since, NBC News reports. His friends say he was in touch with them consistently from the start of the trip until Sept. 29, but no one has been able to get a hold of him since then. His mother tells the Toronto Sun authorities are investigating the possibility her son was abducted, and she believes that's what happened. "Nobody really disappears into thin air," she says.

The local DA's office is conducting a criminal investigation after inconsistencies were uncovered regarding his stay at the Kame House Backpacker Hostel, with employees giving differing reports of when he arrived and left and the owner initially confirming he had been there, then later saying he had not. Galganov was planning to stay at the hostel the evening of Sept. 28, and security footage shows him leaving a bus station that morning in the direction of the hostel. He later sent a friend a Snapchat from the hostel. There is no record of him registering at the entry point of the trail he was planning to hike, and no other hikers or guides on the popular trail have reported sightings of him. His mother is in Peru trying to retrace her son's steps, and a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with costs. She has also started a petition asking Apple, T-Mobile, and Amazon to release information from his iPhone and Kindle that could help investigators. (More missing person stories.)

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