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Ken DeLand: French police report says missing American college student in ‘fragile mood,’ ‘may be depressed’


Dec 13, 2022

A French police report describes missing American college student Ken DeLand as in a “fragile mood” and possibly “depressed” as the search for the 22-year-old studying abroad stretches past two weeks.

A national police report from France’s Interior Ministry – obtained and translated by Fox News – establishes the “concrete disturbing facts” considered “mandatory for a proper investigation.” The report, dated Nov. 29, describes DeLand as an American student who “does not speak French well.” 

It also notes DeLand, described as having short blond hair, blue eyes and having light beige and blonde beard and mustache, as being in a “fragile mood” and “may be depressed.” 

In a statement obtained by Fox News Digital on Monday, Grenoble prosecutor Eric Vaillant said that DeLand had “arrived in France underprepared and was having difficulty making friends.” 


He also said DeLand “seems to have left Grenoble voluntarily.” 

DeLand’s father, also named Ken DeLand, in speaking with Fox News Digital, complained that Vaillant seemed to have access to testimony and more information than his own family, who’ve received pushback from institutions reluctant to released details about 22-year-old DeLand without the adult student first waiving his privacy rights.

DeLand, currently enrolled at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, N.Y., took about five or six years of French courses throughout middle and high school and was an Eagle Scout in Clifton Springs, N.Y. 

Jim Conners, committee chair for Boy Scout Troop 59, said he was very involved with Kenny throughout his scouting career from the time he was about age 10 to 18. For his Eagle Scout Project, DeLand organized veteran’s banners to be hung throughout the village, coordinating with families to provide photos, welders to make the banner holders and printing services to get the banners ready for Veteran’s Day, Conners said.

On what the French prosecutor said of DeLand having trouble making friends, Conners rejected the notion. 

“He’s very sociable, very outgoing. You know, as far as you know, that’s definitely uncharacteristic as far as not being able to make friends,” Conners told Fox News Digital of DeLand. “I remember wherever we were, he could find somebody to talk to, and I’m sure he gets that from his father. Because his father can talk to anybody and carry on a conversation. Doesn’t matter who it is.” 

DeLand, who graduated from Midlakes High School, also previously interned for New York state Sen. Pam Helming, a Republican, from 2019 to 2020. Helming said she first met DeLand when he was a senior in high school and presented him with a proclamation at his Eagle Scout ceremony. 


Fox News Digital first reported that DeLand’s father said he’s received tips through the family’s website – findkendeland.com – theorizing that his son could have already left France undetected through the Schengen zone, an area “where 26 European countries abolished their internal borders” and travelers can pass through without presenting passports or other forms of identification. 

But the father noted that DeLand already traveled to Italy while on break from the University of Grenoble Alpes – and later returned to France as expected to continue his study abroad program. 

The family said they last heard from DeLand on Nov. 27 through WhatsApp. He went to classes on Nov. 28, where those who saw him said he seemed “normal and happy,” according to the family website. 

DeLand was reported missing on Nov. 29 after not showing up in class or being seen by friends or his host family. He reportedly left all his belongings at his host family’s home, including his computer, tablet, train pass, and phone charger. His phone last pinged by the Valence train station on Nov. 30.

Bank records showed he made a purchase on Dec. 3 at the Decathlon Sporting Goods store in Montelimar, France, for just $8.40. Surveillance video also showed the 6-foot 190-pound DeLand entering the store wearing a red jacket, scarf, grey beanie, blue jeans and sneakers while carrying a black backpack. His study abroad program is set to end on Dec. 17 and his visa expires on Jan. 20.

“We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen missing in France,” the U.S. Embassy in Paris said in a statement to Fox News. “When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with families whenever we can.” 

“The Department of State has no higher priority than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad,” it added. “We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to U.S. citizens in need and to their families.”

Fox News’ Maria Paronich, Landon Mion and Cicely Medintzeff contributed to this report. 


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