Since June 16th, 2013, Oklahoma scholar, August Reiger, is still missing from Ecuador. He was enjoying the first week of a “senior” trip with his family, Christopher and Randa Reiger and his younger brother. As the family hiked on a trail close to their resort, August told his parents that he wanted to hike ahead, as he wanted to hike at a faster pace.
August told Chris and Randa Reiger that he would meet them at the top of the hill. In a matter of ten to fifteen minutes, Chris, Randa and their 14-year-old son reached the top and did not see any sign of August. After a frantic search, they went back to their hotel and asked for assistance in finding their 18-year-old son.
Ironically, Reiger, who was the Class of 2013 valedictorian of Classen School of Advanced Studies, went missing on Father’s Day.
August Reiger is quite the scholar, and was looking forward to starting a merit scholarship at Oklahoma University. August studied and speaks Spanish. A few “credible” witnesses told local Ecuadorian authorities that they saw someone resembling August in a truck heading for the Amazon.
“Our administration has been told that the U.S. Embassy and the State Department are extending every possible assistance to local authorities, ” Alex Weintz, a representative of Governor Fallin’s office said.
The Reiger family knows that kidnappers wait sometimes months before they demand a ransom. The family says that a special police task force has been established to investigate their son’s disappearance. The task force is called UNASE, which stands for the Ecuadorean Police Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Unit.
Christopher Reiger said, in an interview on November 12th, “We have been able to get regular reports from Ecuador’s authorities through a family friend who is fluent in Spanish. I stayed there for two extra months to try to find August, and the Ecuadorian government were overwhelmingly positive in their support of the mission to find my son.”
Kathy Edzards, a neighbor of the family in Linwood Place, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, stated, “August had no motivation to run away, he was an accomplished scholar with an amazing future ahead of him at OU.” Ms. Edzards also said that the Reiger family were some of the best people in the area. “Randa paints and Chris writes songs, and in fact, he wrote a song about August just last Saturday night.”
Chris Reiger explained that he wrote the song at this time to honor his son and to put the story back out into the public. “Mostly we want to reach the country of Ecuador to get out the news that August is still missing somewhere near the Amazon.
The picture adjacent was painted by Randa Reiger, and represents the love and sadness she feels toward her older son, who is still missing in her home and her heart.
For the Reiger family, the most frustrating issue in this case is that they have no control of the outcome of the investigation. Although they have received support from Ecuadorian authorities, there are other cases of young people who have gone missing in almost the same fashion as August Reiger.
Oklahoma scholar, August Reiger, still missing somewhere in Ecuador; possibly with other 20-somethings and, “their stories confirm that August was kidnapped in my mind,” Christopher Reiger said.
By Lisa M Pickering