By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A GoFundMe page has raised over $26,000 to fund additional aid in the search for an Arab American National Museum docent missing in Peru since Dec. 12.
Her brother Carlos Valpeoz Jr. started the page after Carla Valpeoz, 35, of Detroit was last seen on Dec. 12 in the town of Pisac, Peru just northeast of Cusco. As of Jan. 3, the fundraiser hit $26,198 of its $30,000 goal with 330 people in 10 days.
“We are desperately trying to find Carla and need funding for additional Search and Rescue efforts,” the page read. “The resources of local authorities are very limited. We are asking for donations large and small to coordinate efforts with professionals to aide in the search and rescue of Carla.”
To donate go to www.gofundme.com/findcarla.
Valpeoz Jr. also thanked his sister’s friends and family from all over the world, the media, politicians, government officials, the Peruvian army, the U.S. Embassy, the FBI, the office of the president and vice president of Peru, the United States and everyone else who has helped the family.
He added that any amount left over from the investigation would be used to donate to one of the organizations with which Valpeoz worked.
As the family continues to wait for news about Valpeoz, a vigil was held on Dec. 23 to pray for her safe return home. Valpeoz was in Peru for a wedding and to also explore the county, but is legally blind due to optic nerve atrophy.
According to CNN and Valpeoz Jr., while in Peru Valpeoz and a group of people went to climb Huayna Picchu before returning to Cusco about 10 p.m. Dec. 11.
She then went out with people from the same group to a club when she and another woman she met that same day returned about 4 a.m. to their hostel.
Valpeoz then slept in a room with nine other people and left the hostel about 9 a.m. Dec. 12 in a cab, according to surveillance video. She also sent her last message via WhatsApp to her brother on that date about the same time. Valpeoz was then dropped off to an area where people catch buses and has not been seen since.
According to CNN, on Dec. 13, a friend of Valpeoz’s became worried because she did not show up in Lima where the pair was scheduled to fly back to the United States on Dec. 15.
Carlos Valpeoz Sr. arrived in Peru on Dec. 17 while the investigation continues. The U.S. State Department could not comment to CNN about Valpeoz, but said it is aware of the media reports and that she is missing.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])