Patrick Braxton-Andrew. (Source: Facebook)
More than a hundred police fanned out Saturday in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua to search for a missing American hiker. Patrick Braxton-Andrew, a 34-year-old Spanish teacher from North Carolina, was last seen six days ago, on Sunday, by personnel at a hotel he was staying at in Urique, a former mining village at the base of one of the many canyons that make up the Copper Canyon National Park.
The Chihuahua state prosecutors’ office shared images of police and volunteers searching for the missing hiker along rocky paths and steep gorges. The picturesque network of canyons is home to the Tarahumara indigenous group, widely regarded as endurance athletes for their runs through blistering heat in hand-made sandals. The canyons are also plagued by violent conflicts over illegal logging, which locals accuse of being fronts for money laundering by Mexican drug cartels.
Childhood friend Russell Miller described Braxton-Andrew as an avid runner who has traveled extensively in Latin America. Braxton-Andrew was excited to take in the beauty of the canyon, Miller said. A picture on a Facebook page organized by friends and family shows Braxton-Andrew standing in front of Machu Picchu, the Incan ruins in Peru. Another picture shows him standing next to an elephant in front of a waterway.
Braxton-Andrew’s family said via a statement to the Associated Press that they have not given up hope. “We just want to bring him home. If anyone saw him or has any information on his potential whereabouts, please let the authorities know. Any information could be valuable and we need help finding Patrick,” they said.