Fam­ily of miss­ing teacher praises search ef­fort

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Insight - BY JOE MARUSAK [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

The fam­ily of a North Carolina teacher miss­ing in Mex­ico praised the ef­forts of top Mex­i­can of­fi­cials to find their loved one and told The Char­lotte Ob­server on Satur­day, they are ex­tremely hope­ful he will be found and will safely re­turn home.

“We all feel very pos­i­tive,” Pa­trick Brax­tonAn­drew’s mother, Jean Brax­ton, told the Ob­server by phone. Her hus­band, Gary An­drew, their other son, Kerry, and Kerry’s wife, Kath­leen, also par­tic­i­pated in the in­ter­view via con­fer­ence call from Mex­ico.

“Ev­ery day brings new hope, new con­ver­sa­tions, new con­nec­tions,” Jean Brax­ton said.

Pa­trick Brax­ton-An­drew is a 34-year-old Class of 2006 David­son Col­lege grad­u­ate who teaches Span­ish at the Wood­lawn School, just north of Da- vid­son in south­ern Ire­dell County.

The avid trav­eler and hiker went miss­ing Oct. 28 in or near the vil­lage of Urique, the col­lege posted in an alumni alert that week.

He was sup­posed to meet his brother in Mex­ico City two days later, ac­cord­ing to a post by their dad on the col­lege’s alumni Face­book page, The Char­lotte Ob­server re­ported in a Nov. 3 ar­ti­cle.

Po­lice might soon use their two Black Hawk he­li­copters to help the nu­mer­ous on-the-ground searchers who have in­cluded lo­cal in­dige­nous peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the ter­rain, Gary An­drew said.

The fam­ily, how­ever, does not be­lieve Pa­trick Brax­ton-An­drew went miss­ing while hik­ing, his brother told the Ob­server on Satur­day.

That’s be­cause his brother never hiked with­out his cam­era, Kerry Brax­ton-An­drew said. Au­thor­i­ties found the cam­era in his brother’s ho­tel room, Kerry Brax­ton-An­drew said.

While the ground search con­tin­ues, au­thor­i­ties are turn­ing their at­ten­tion to “an in­ves­ti­ga­tion” of Pa­trick Brax­ton-An­drew’s

dis­ap­pear­ance, his brother said.

Eighty-seven of­fi­cials from var­i­ous agen­cies in the north-cen­tral Mex­i­can state of Chi­huahua “are di­rectly in­volved” in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Pa­trick Brax­ton-An­drew’s where­abouts, Kath­leen Brax­tonAn­drew said dur­ing Satur­day’s in­ter­view. “It’s their top pri­or­ity.”

On Thurs­day, the fam­ily met with Chi­huahua’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, “Senor Fis­cal Ce­sar Peniche,” ac­cord­ing to a fam­ily post on a Face­book page where they pro­vide search up­dates.

“We shared pho­tos of Pa­trick from his var­i­ous trips to Latin Amer­ica so Senor Fis­cal could see Pa­trick’s love of the peo­ple and the cul­ture,” ac­cord­ing to the fam­ily’s post. “Senor Fis­cal as­sured us that the Govern­ment of Chi­huahua is aware of and con­cerned about Pa­trick’s dis­ap­pear­ance, and the State will con­tinue de­vot­ing as many re­sources as nec­es­sary to Urique.”

On Fri­day, fam­ily mem­bers met with the gover­nor of Chi­huahua, Javier Cor­ral Ju­rado. “Senor Fis­cal Ce­sar Peniche was in at­ten­dance once again which con­firmed to us that the State of Chi­huahua is com­mit­ted to help­ing us bring Pa­trick home,” the fam­ily said in a Face­book post Satu­day morn­ing. “Gover­nor Ju­rado stated many times that this was his top pri­or­ity and he is us­ing all of his re­sources in the search and in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We walked out of those meet­ings with tremen­dous hope,” the fam- ily’s post on Satur­day con­tin­ued. “The Mex­i­can au­thor­i­ties told us that ju­ris­dic­tion and diplo­macy were not go­ing to be bar­ri­ers in their search. This is about a life, the life of Pa­trick, and they are go­ing to do ev­ery­thing they can to bring him home ... Their own sin­cer­ity and com­pas­sion will never be for­got­ten.”

“Peo­ple have been very co­op­er­a­tive, very sup­port­ive,” Gary An­drew told the Ob­server on Satur­day. “We are just so grate­ful for what ev­ery­one is do­ing.”

A “Com­mu­nity Gath­er­ing for Pa­trick Brax­ton-An­drew” is sched­uled for 3-5 p.m. Sun­day on the David­son Vil­lage Green on Main Street.

Cour­tesy of Pa­trick Brax­ton-An­drew's fam­ily

Pa­trick Brax­ton-An­drew’s fam­ily told The Char­lotte Ob­server that he took this selfie in Urique, Mex­ico, with Cop­per Canyon in the back­ground. The pic­ture was in his cam­era that Mex­i­can au­thor­i­ties found in his ho­tel room.

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