90-day search for ES economics students finally reaches end

HUMOUR — After a month and a half of intensive searching, the missing Environmental Studies students from the University of Victoria have been found. It took several paid private investigators to find the students’ location, but all their hard work has finally paid off. According to sources, the students have been found in several areas of Africa such as Kenya.

Even though the event happened in September, economics professor Amy Whelter is still shocked and confused over the event. Whelter was the teacher for class ES 432, where the students were before they went missing. “The class seemed to contain normal fourth-year students. They seemed excited about getting ready to start another year of university at UVic,” says Whelter. It was almost two months ago, Sept. 8, when the students disappeared while attending Issues in World Economics. “I was just in the middle of the lecture, then I turned around and every student was gone from their seat,” explains Whelter. “I didn’t know what to make of it.”

She decided to view it as a prank. But as days went by with no sign of them, the students’ friends started feeling concerned. Jordan Peltier called the police after a week of not being able to contact his roommate. “After not hearing from him in three days, I ate all of his food and had a party in the dorm,” says Peltier. “But after week two of no roommate, I was getting concerned, mostly because rent was due soon.” Fellow roommates weren’t the only people raising questions; soon the parents were also becoming concerned over their children’s locations. Joan Alterk, a mother of one of the missing students, called the police one week after her daughter’s disappearance. “We don’t usually talk very often,” says Alterk, “but I knew as soon as she wasn’t answering her phone or calling to ask for money something was wrong.”

John Rumon, one of the many private investigators put on the case, was the first to track down five of the 40 missing Environmental Studies economics students. “It was one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had,” says Rumon. “Usually I just search for cheating husbands and lost socks. This was very different.”

After a month and a half of searching, Rumon found five students in a rural area of Kenya, building homes for underprivileged citizens. One of these students was Jane Alterk. “At first they were reluctant to talk,” says Rumon. “But after I offered them some ketchup chips, they seemed more willing to open up.” After a lengthy interview, Rumon finally discovered the reason of the student’s disappearance.

“They said they were just tired of hearing about all the problems of the world and not doing anything about it. So they all took the next flight to Kenya and spread themselves throughout the country to work with locals in the area to dig wells, build houses, and help Doctors Without Borders,” he explains. “They said sitting behind a desk to obtain a piece of paper does nothing to help the current economic world problems.” Although he tried to persuade the students to return home they refused.

“All they asked of me was to delete their Internet history when I got back to Canada.” Defeated, Rumon returned to Canada to give the parents the bad news.  “I just can’t believe she would do that,” says Joan Alterk after receiving the news from Rumon. “She had so much potential.” Alterk is in the process of trying to get a ticket to Kenya to talk to her daughter directly, in hopes of bringing her home. “We just want them to stop wasting their time in Africa and get back here and finish their degree,” says Alterk. “Then they can finally do something useful with their lives.”

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