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State News

January 21, 2014

Family holds out hope for missing teen

Oklahoma City — More than six months after an Oklahoma teenager disappeared while hiking on a family trip in Ecuador, relatives and friends are still holding out hope that he will be found alive and say they are grateful for the support the Ecuadorian government has provided.

August Reiger went missing in June while he, his parents and brother were visiting the tourist town of Banos in central Ecuador. He had run a few minutes ahead of his family and planned to meet them when they caught up, but then he never showed up, said his aunt, Cristi Reiger.

Authorities in Ecuador believe the teen, who is from Oklahoma City and graduated at the top of his high school class, was kidnapped, according to the aunt. There have been no demands for ransom, but authorities have said that is not unusual in cases like this one.

Family members are hoping the attention the president of Ecuador has put on missing persons cases will help turn up August. Cristi Reiger said President Rafael Correa met with a representative of the family as well as representatives of other families of missing persons during a two-day conference at the presidential palace in Quito last month.

“He’s vowed to do everything they can do, which already has been so great,” the aunt said of the Ecuadorian president. “They’ve set up a special task force and people assigned to all these different missing persons.”

The agency established to help family members find missing relatives in Ecuador has no office and no listed telephone number.

Authorities in Ecuador have reported several sightings of August to the family, including a few that have been deemed credible, August’s aunt said. But so far, none have led to the teen being found.

“It’s a non-stop sort of deal. They’re overturning every stone. They’re following every lead. We’re hopeful. We still have a lot of hope,” Cristi Reiger said of finding her nephew, a National Merit Scholar finalist who has a conversational understanding of Spanish.

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