A U.S. college student has been reported missing by his family while studying abroad in France.
The parents of Ken DeLand Jr., 22, have set up a website to share information about their son, who they say has been missing since last month.
They say they last heard from their son, known as Kenny, on Nov. 27 when he was boarding a train to Valence in southeast France.
The family says they “fear the worst and want him to be located.”
DeLand was studying at the University Grenoble Alpes in France through a study abroad program. On Nov. 27, he left his host family’s residence and was headed to Valence, a two-hour train ride from Grenoble, according to the website his family set up. Family members say they last spoke to him through the messaging service WhatsApp and have not heard from him since.
His study program was supposed to end this Saturday, and his visa expires early next year, they say on the website.
The Grenoble public prosecutor's office said in a statement that it had opened an investigation following a report on Nov. 29, "by students, of the disturbing disappearance of a 21-year-old American student who had come to Grenoble to study French."
"The young man reportedly told several people that he had arrived in France insufficiently prepared and that he had difficulty making friends," the statement said. "He appears to have left Grenoble voluntarily," it added, adding, "He also mentioned that he wanted to go to Marseille before returning to the United States."
DeLand had been in “constant communication” with his family while he was in France, his father, also named Ken DeLand, said in an interview that aired Monday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“He would reach out to me almost daily, sometimes every other day,” the elder DeLand said.
“Kenny’s a friendly, outgoing college student, a young man,” he added. “He loves to travel. So this trip has been something that he’s really looked forward to and enjoyed.”
The private St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, confirmed that DeLand was a student there.
The university said it will continue to do all it can to assist in the investigations to find DeLand. University officials were in “close contact” with the study abroad agency, the American Institute for Foreign Study, which is working with French law enforcement, a university spokesperson said.
“Our campus community remains hopeful that Kenneth will be found safe and return home,” the spokesperson added.
The AIFS said that it "joins others concerned for his safety and we are working with local law enforcement who have begun a search. ," adding, "We have been in contact with Kenneth’s family and university and we are hoping for his swift and safe return."
DeLand’s family said it had filed a missing person report with French police, meaning authorities would be notified if he were to board a train or a flight to leave France using his passport.
A security camera captured DeLand on Dec. 3 entering a sports store in Montelimar in southeast France, where he made a purchase for $8.40, his parents said.
DeLand’s Facebook page, which shows photos and videos from his recent travels in France, has been inactive since Nov. 19, eight days before his family says it last heard from him.
He is about 6 feet tall and weighs 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red jacket, a scarf, a gray beanie, blue jeans or slacks, a black backpack and sneakers, according to the website his family set up.