Cal­i­for­nia fam­ily miss­ing in Brazil­ian jun­gle found safe

Sun.Star Pampanga - - WORLD! -

SAO

PAULO -- A Cal­i­for­nia cou­ple and their two daugh­ters who had been miss­ing since Sun­day when pi­rates at­tacked their boat in the Ama­zon River delta area have been found alive.

Ex­cept for in­sect bites and scratches, Adam and Emily Harteau and their 3- and 7-year-old daugh­ters were in good con­di­tion and will spend the night in a hos­pi­tal in the small city of Breves, not far from where they were found, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials in Brazil's north­ern jun­gle state of Para said Wed­nes­day.

The Harteaus were headed to Breves when gun­men boarded the boat they were on and forced it to go the city of Porto dos Dias, said Ser­gio Chene, a spokesman for Para's Public Safety Depart­ment.

There crew and pas­sen­gers were held hostage for sev­eral hours and stripped of their per­sonal be­long­ings be­fore the pi­rates fled, Chene said.

When po­lice ar­rived there was no sign of the Harteaus.

Po­lice found the van the fam­ily had been us­ing in their jour­ney aban­doned in the jun­gle.

It's un­clear how the fam­ily es­caped the as­sailants. Colby Guil­lory, a Los An­ge­les res­i­dent act­ing as a fam­ily spokesman, said friends and rel­a­tives think the Harteaus de­cided to flee the boat to get away from the pi­rates and have been walk­ing in the jun­gle since.

"Me know­ing Adam, he prob­a­bly took it upon him­self to save his fam­ily," Guil­lory said. "We just know that some­time be­tween pi­rates over­tak­ing the boat and leav­ing the boat, (the Harteaus) went miss­ing. We think they jumped."

When Guil­lory heard his good friends were safe he said he be­gan "su­per ex­cited ugly-cry­ing." "We just can't wait to have them home," he said. Adam Harteau's brother, Keith Harteau, told The As­so­ci­ated Press ear­lier that the at­tack hap­pened as the fam­ily was on its way to move back to Cal­i­for­nia. They were set to ar­rive in Los An­ge­les on Nov. 15.

Keith Harteau said the cou­ple wanted to be closer to home and for their girls to be near their fam­ily.

"It was their time to get a lit­tle bit of foun­da­tion," he said.

He said Emily Harteau grew up in Sacra­mento and . Adam grew up in Ju­niper Hills in the San Gabriel Moun­tains just north­east of Los An­ge­les.

The Harteaus had re­cently been liv­ing in the south­ern Brazil city of Flo­ri­a­nop­o­lis. They have been us­ing a web­site to doc­u­ment their jour­ney around South Amer­ica, which be­gan in 2012 as a plan to travel to Patag­o­nia in their Volk­swa­gen van and re­turn to Cal­i­for­nia one year later.

But the Harteaus fell in love with South Amer­ica and have been there since af­ter they "de­cided to em­brace a fu­ture un­known and the re­wards of slow travel," ac­cord­ing to their site, which says Adam is an artist and Emily a fash­ion de­signer.

They wanted their site to "serve as a modern fam­ily por­trait, as they shed their robes of com­fort to re­ex­am­ine the Amer­i­can Dream."

"They hope to in­spire oth­ers to cre­ate, eat well, spend qual­ity time to­gether, and ad­ven­ture into their own great back­yards," the site says.

(AP)

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