San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Australian Exchange Student Still Missing

A spring-break holiday turned into anightmare for a group of North Americanand Australian students on exchange withthe University of Florida, in the UnitedStates, after Brendan K. Dobbins, a 24-year-old Australian student, disappearedfrom the beach town of Tamarindo, in thenorthwestern province of Guanacaste,without a trace.Dobbins was last seen by his fellowstudents at approximately 4 a.m. March 4at the Vip Bazar Bar in Tamarindo, saidKatia Chavarría, regional director of theGuanacaste police.Nearly two weeks later, he is stillmissing.AUTHORITIES have opened a missingpersons case and searched for theyoung man on land and at sea, with helpand support from theRed Cross, theJudicial InvestigationPolice (OIJ), theCosta Rican CoastGuard, the CanadianEmbassy in CostaRica and theAustralian Embassyin Mexico City.The Red Crosssent 11 volunteersand 3 patrolling unitsto the area March 7, after being notified ofDobbins’ disappearance, but called off itssearch operations last week.“Although the case is still open, we areno longer participating in the search thisweek,” said Liberia Red Cross spokesmanJorge Viales. “We were unable to come upwith any information pointing to him.”AN OIJ representative from SantaCruz said police have continued the searchto no avail.Dobbins’ father, Brian Dobbins,arrived in the country March 10 to helpsearch for his son. He was assisted by theAustralian Consul to Mexico City, ChrisMunn, who traveled to Costa Rica lastweek, and Canadian consul to Costa Rica,Serge Clement.“What calls our attention about thiscase,” said Lilly Edgerton, spokeswomanfor the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica,“is that we know nothing. He simply disappeared.”To report leads on Dobbins’ whereabouts,contact OIJ at 295-3390 or 295-3311.

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