Marches are being organized in Montreal and Toronto on May 13, to raise awareness of the ongoing investigation into the fate of young Montreal native Jesse Galganov, who went missing in Peru in late September.
His father, Todd Galganov, who has been in Peru looking for his son since Oct. 16, told The CJN that the Mother’s Day marches will start at the Copper Branch restaurant in the Montreal suburb of Pointe-Claire and Wolfie’s Deli in Toronto’s North York area at 11 a.m.
Simultaneous events are being planned in Brooklyn, Florida, California and Huaraz, Peru.
Huaraz is the town where Jesse Galganov stayed in a hostel before heading out to hike the mountainous Santa Cruz Trail. His mother, Alisa Clamen, last heard from him via text message on Sept. 28.
No trace has been found of Jesse Galganov, who would have turned 23 in February, since then, despite a search by local police and the continuing engagement of Magnus, a highly regarded private Israeli search-and-rescue firm. A $45,000 reward is being offered by the family for any leads into the young man’s whereabouts.
The elder Galganov also said that on April 21, he received confirmation from Peruvian authorities that they will “invite” Canadians – perhaps up to 200 – to come into the country and conduct their own search. “I’m just waiting for the final paperwork,” he said.
Todd Galganov was still trying to get the go-ahead for Americans to join the efforts, as both he and Jesse Galganov hold U.S. and Canadian citizenship. For his own part, the father has been ceaselessly doing all he can to ensure his son’s plight is kept in the public eye.
Todd Galganov met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for about 40 minutes during the Summit of the Americas in Lima, which was held from April 13-14.
He said that Trudeau was aware of the story and was sympathetic: “The first thing he did was hug me. He must have hugged me five times and said it was an honour to meet me. I said, ‘What honour, I’m only doing what a father would do’.”
He asked that Trudeau intervene with the president of Peru, to see if the central authorities would get involved, because he believes that the local police are not capable of carrying out a sustained investigation. He suggested that police from the capital city of Lima be brought in. The trail his son is believed to have taken rises to an elevation of 4,850 metres above sea level and is quite remote.
Jesse Galganov had just graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and was planning on spending eight months backpacking through South America and Asia, before entering medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
On April 23, the matter was raised in the House of Commons by MP Anthony Housefather, who represents the riding in which Galganov lived.
I call upon the Peruvian authorities to do everything they can to assist Jesse’s parents.
– MP Anthony Housefather
“I call upon the Peruvian authorities to do everything they can to assist Jesse’s parents,” said Housefather. “This includes directing the Peruvian police to fully co-operate with the private search-and-rescue experts they have hired, to work with the Canadian government in the investigation and to provide skilled resources, as necessary.”
Citing the “herculean efforts” of Jesse Galganov’s parents, he asked anyone with information about their son to email [email protected].
Todd Galganov said donations are also welcome. By the end of the year, the family had spent more than $1 million, mostly through crowdfunding, including a $100,000 donation from Montreal businessman Mitch Garber.
At a March 28 press conference in Huaraz, Galganov deplored the “indifference” of local authorities to the case and his incredulity that no one knows anything about what happened to his son. He also warned that Peru’s tourism industry could suffer, as a result.
“Someone must know something and, if my son is not found any time soon, we can no longer recommend Huaraz or the Callejon de Huaylas (the wider Andean highlands in the northeast of the country) as a tourist destination,” he said, noting the lack of signs and guards in the national park, as well the scarcity of basic medical supplies, or even a telephone.
“Please show the world that you care,” Todd Galganov pleaded. He reaffirmed that he will not leave the country until he knows what happened to his son.
Someone must know something.
– Todd Galganov
“Until God or the team shows me that our son Jesse has gone to heaven, I will continue my steadfast faith in God that he is alive. Now I shall pray to find him. It’s not over till it’s over,” he said.
At the time, the local English-language newspaper, the Huaraz Telegraph, quoted a police report saying that it is likely that Galganov “suffered an accident and might have fallen into an abyss, since he did not know the place and did not have a guide.”