San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Red Cross Suspends Search for Missing Hiker

After nearly three weeks of looking, the Costa Rican Red Cross has suspended its search for David Gimelfarb, the missing 28-year-old doctoral student from Chicago, Illinois, in the United States.

National and local Red Cross teams retreated from Rincón de la Vieja National Park, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, a week ago today, after finding no signs of Gimelfarb.

Freddy Román, a Red Cross press officer, said this search lasted longer than usual.

“Usually, we leave the search after eight days if we don’t find anything because of the high costs,” he said. “But, because of the support and help from the family, the U.S. Embassy and some private companies, we were able to extend the search to 15 days.”

Friends and family of Gimelfarb started raising funds to aid rescue efforts shortly after the search began on Aug. 12. Some of Gimelfarb’s co-workers joined his parents in Costa Rica to pass out missing person flyers and run supplies to search teams camped out inside the park.

The family hired ResQglobal, a private, United Kingdom-based search and rescue company, to help coordinate missions. The U.S. government sent two U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters with infrared technology to Costa Rica to aid in the search.

Both the Blackhawks and ResQglobal have since left the country. Park rangers and area residents continue to help the family in their search for Gimelfarb.

Friends of the family have said Gimelfarb’s parents may hire a private investigator to help search for their son.

In Chicago, friends hosted an open-microphone event on Tuesday night at Dollop Coffee and Tea, a coffee house on the city’s north side, to show their appreciation for Gimelfarb’s love of the arts. Friends said the coffee shop was one of Gimelfarb’s favorite hangouts.

–Mike McDonald


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