Update: Search for Jesse Galganov continued, mother on her way to Huaraz

The Huaraz Telegraph was informed by Gideon Harari from Israel, specialised in intelligence services and investigation, that the search for Jesse Galganov has reinitiated this week. Furthermore, Mr. Harari, hired by the Israeli Search and Rescue Company Magnus International, stated that Alisa Clamen, Jesse´s mother is on her way to Huaraz and is expected to arrive this Friday. During a small chat we found out a bit more about the search so far, their objectives and what might have happened to the young backpacker from Montreal, Canada.

Mr. Harari: ¨Well, Magnus International started their search on the 8th of November of last year. What we did last year was mainly a field search with the help of a group of guides led by Beto Pinto Toledo, the national police force and some members of the Israeli Search and Rescue Company Magnus International. We have registered the Santa Cruz Valley and have obtained, over 36 hours of video footage filmed with drones. We have also, walked and searched through the whole valley; each member of the group has at least walked 160 km in three weeks. In terms of intelligence search, we have analysed the entrance registers of the Huascarán National Park and sadly, the day that Jesse entered the park, his name wasn’t registered. Strangely, that particular day, no other tourist was registered either. However, we were able to locate two tourists who shared the same campsite with Jesse on the Santa Cruz Trek. Now we´re back and we will continue with the search, mainly doing interviews

What else can you share about his last whereabouts?

¨Well, it was at the campsite of Taullipampa where he was last seen. We have tried to contact more people who were on that trail between the end of September until the first couple of days of October. In the end, we spoke with tourists from France, Canada, Czech Republic and Austria, but none of these people declared to have seen Jesse. Understand that part of our research, like fieldwork and interviewing people is done here, but we also have a specialised team working in Isreal. We are particularly interested in the trekkers that started the Santa Cruz Trek from Vaquería because they would have walked towards Jesse, however, due to the fact that the registers are missing or incomplete, we have trouble finding out who were there those specific days. The muleteers and guides from Colcabamba and Huaripampa were very helpful during the search, as they offered their help. They have searched a couple of days without any problems. However, the muleteer´s organisation from the Cashapampa part, were not helpful at all, as they refused to search. Which is, very, very odd.

We have now arrived at the fifth part of the search which contains interviewing muleteers, guides, and people that might have been on the trek during the time Jesse went missing. This research is conducted by retired General Hurtado and me. I would strongly like to suggest to people who are reading this, especially the local guides, that IF they know something, to contact us. This can be anything from a rumour or something they heard, please let us know. It´s better for them to contact us; instead of the police to contact them. Our only objective is to find Jesse and we expect people to cooperate. We´re staying in the Andino Club Hotel or they could also contact your newspaper.

Let me add that we have been able to meet wonderful people who have been willing to help us out with really helpful information. On the other hand, there´s also a couple of problems we have observed which should be addressed in the future. For example the registers of the national park are incomplete. The park guards are often not doing their job as they appear to leave their posts and thus do not register who´s coming in and who´s leaving. The lack of signs in the park is another problem. It´s true that it´s very difficult to get lost, however, there´s always a couple of people who get lost. Most striking is the lack of medical services or first aid, there´s absolutely nothing! Finally, the free maps that are circulating in Huaraz are of no good use. Understand that not all tourists want to pay for a decent map, so they go to the tourist office in Huaraz to get a free one. The ones I have seen are completely useless.

Another thing which is very frustrating is the counterwork of local authorities. Particularly the national telephone companies, which, despite the existence of a judicial order to collect this very valuable information, have not shared any information. The last GPS signal of Jesse´s cellphone is key. There is an antenna near Cashapampa at the start of the trek, and around Punta Unión there´s a couple of spots where you can catch coverage. In Vaquería and Colcabamba there´s good network coverage too, however, sadly the telephone companies aren’t cooperating. This is due to the lack of interest of local authorities. Nonetheless, we will not stop with our search.

Jesse´s mother Alisa will arrive this Friday in Huaraz to help us with the search. She will give some interviews and talk to the communities. We will not stop until she tells us to. ¨

What is it you think that might have happened to Jesse?

¨The truth is that Jesse has made a couple of mistakes. Jesse decided to hike the Santa Cruz Trek without the use of a local guide, did not have a decent map, and most importantly was not acclimatised very well. However, taking all these mistakes for granted, it should never have let to the situation in which we find ourselves right now. Jesse has been missing for over four months now and we still don’t know exactly what has happened to him. With the fieldwork and research we have realised, we´re sure that something has happened to Jesse. If Jesse might have suffered from acute mountain sickness due to the altitude, we would have found him. What I am trying to say is that; maybe, someone did find his body. It´s possible that this person found the body, stole his belongings such as his phone, money, etc., and then hid the body. I don’t like to consider the fact that maybe someone has killed Jesse, committing a crime to obtain his belongings.

Locals don’t seem to understand that it’s in their best interests to find Jesse. They depend on tourism. I can assure you that, if we do not find him that there will be consequences; we will make sure that we will spread the word on what has happened in this area and this will reflect on future tourist visits. It´s simply unacceptable that a young, healthy backpacker gets to this area and is unable to return home.¨

Photo: Retired General Darío Hurtado (l) and Gideon Harari (r)


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