The family of a North Carolina teacher has launched a massive social media effort to find the man after he vanished from one of Mexico’s national parks more than a week ago.
More than 100 police officers are searching for 34-year-old Patrick Braxton-Andrew, who is believed to have disappeared while hiking at Copper Canyon National park in Chihuahua just over a week ago, according to WSOC. The eighth grade teacher was last seen walking near a ranch in Urique after 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, according to a post on the Davidson College Alumni Facebook page.
“Please help as we are frantic,” his father said in a statement shared in the Facebook post.
The family added in a statement sent to PEOPLE: “We appreciate all the efforts being made by the government of Mexico to find Patrick, and for the help of the U.S. Embassy, which is working jointly with the Mexican authorities. We also appreciate the outpouring of support from so many friends, family, community and people worldwide who care about Patrick.
“We want to encourage continued efforts on the part of the authorities as well as anyone who may have information to help us find Patrick. We will not give up until he is safely back home.”
In the family’s initial statement, they said Braxton-Andrew left North Carolina on Oct. 24 and boarded the Copper Canyon Train early the next morning. Meanwhile, his parents were on an “unrelated vacation” in Tulum and had last talked to their son the Sunday he vanished.
Braxton-Andrew “was supposed to meet his brother in Mexico City on Tuesday, October 30, late afternoon, but he did not show up,” the family continued.
Staff at the Urique hotel where Braxton-Andrew had been staying said he never returned from his walk that Sunday afternoon. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis announced in a tweet on Monday that his staff is “actively working” with the U.S. Department of State to find Braxton-Andrew.
His childhood friend, Russell Miller, described Braxton-Andrew to the AP as an avid runner who often traveled in Latin America. Miller said that Braxton-Andrew had been excited to visit the park and see the canyon.
Photos of the search showed police and volunteers scouring rocky paths and steep gorges to find the hiker, WSOC reported.
A spokesperson for the Woodlawn School in Mooresville, where Braxton-Andrew taught Spanish, declined to comment.