Missing Americans Garrett Hand, Jamie Neal found alive and well in Peru (UPDATE)


Garrett Hand and Jamie Neal left California for Peru in November but lost contact on January 25. The pair had been cycling across South America and posting status updates and photos on Facebook.


Garrett Hand's Facebook page

Missing Americans Jamie Neal and Garrett Hand have reportedly been found alive and well in a remote area of Peru. 

"The American tourists are continuing to enjoy their trip in the Peruvian Amazon," Peru's tourism ministry said in a statement Tuesday, adding that Hand and Neal were safely traveling by riverboat north to the border with Ecuador, Reuters reports.

The Pedaler Bike Shop where Neal worked confirmed in an email to GlobalPost that the couple had been found.

Hand and Neal left the Bay Area of California in November on a biking expedition across South America.

The pair had been chronicling their adventures with regular status updates and photos on Facebook but the messages stopped on January 25.

They were last seen on Jan 26 getting into a cab in Lima, the same day that their credit cards stopped being used.

One of Neal's last updates said the couple had decided to go to the Amazon instead of Machu Picchu, reports KTVU.

Peru's state news agency, Andina, said the pair were in a remote region without phone or Internet access, heading on the Napo river toward the border post of Cabo Pantoja.

Hand and Neal spoke to a police officer in the town of Angoteros and "expressed their surprise at information that foreign media had reported their supposed disappearance."

Hand's mother Francine Fitzgerald told Fox News that the family will not stop searching for the couple until they have "proof of life".

"Proof of life is my son's voice on the phone and a picture of him holding the missing poster," Fitzgerald said.

"While I appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the media, the U.S. and Peruvian governments, until I hear from and see my son directly, we will not stop."