Apparently responding to massive pressure, Apple, T-Mobile and Amazon have released information from the electronic devices of a 22-year-old Montreal man who’s gone missing in South America, which investigators think will be useful in locating him.
Jesse Galganov, a dual Canadian and American citizen, has not been heard from since Sept. 28, when he arrived in Huaraz, Peru, a small city in the north of the country.
Galganov left Montreal on Sept. 24 for what was supposed to be an eight-month backpacking trip through South America and then southeast Asia. He had only spent a few days in Lima before heading to Huaraz, where he stayed at a hostel.
He texted his mother, Alisa Clamen, saying that he was planning to trek the Santa Cruz Trail, a 50-km hike through the Cordillera Blanca mountains, and would be incommunicado for the next three to four days. He had booked a return trip back to Lima by bus for Oct. 2, but the ticket was not used.
Friends and family launched an online petition demanding that the media giants release data from Galganov’s iPhone and Kindle.
‘I am overwhelmed by the support Jesse is receiving.’
“Apple, T-Mobile (his service provider) and Amazon have refused to co-operate, despite requests from investigators and Jesse’s mother. They are withholding critical information and are thereby preventing authorities from finding Jesse. These corporations are wasting precious time with their obstinacy,” the petition stated.
On Oct. 24, after 38,000 signatures had been collected, the petition’s sponsors announced that they had received confirmation from the three companies that they had submitted the data they have on Galganov to Peruvian national police.
However, Clamen said on Oct. 25 that Apple was still refusing to release her son’s Apple ID and password, which would allow them to see the last timestamp on his photos, text messages and iMessages.
“I implore Apple to do the right thing.… His life is at stake,” she said.
Family and friends are offering a US$10,000 ($13,000) reward for any information that leads to Galganov being found.
They are also trying to raise $100,000 through an online GoFundMe campaign, to defray the costs of an intensive social media advertising campaign and to hire specialized search teams.
“I am overwhelmed by the support Jesse is receiving from all of you and there are no words to express the gratitude I feel from the bottom of my heart,” wrote Clamen, who has been in Peru since Oct. 18 to assist the search, on Facebook on Oct. 23. “I feel our community is behind me and you are all giving me so much strength.”
She told the media that Peruvian authorities think it is possible her son was abducted. “All of (the information) is leading to the conclusion that Jesse, somehow, was abducted,” she told The Canadian Press. “It is really the only plausible theory at this point, because nobody really disappears into thin air.”
Clamen said that Peruvian police are serious in their investigation and that the Canadian embassy in Peru has been supportive. The U.S. State Department has opened a missing persons file, as well.
Galganov, who attended Lower Canada College, had planned to enter medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia upon his return. His mother said he meticulously planned his eight-month trip with her.