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Classen School of Advanced Studies valedictorian disappears while hiking with family in Ecuador

August Reiger, 18, went missing Sunday while hiking with his family during a vacation in Ecuador. Reiger graduated as a valedictorian from Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City last month.
BY BRYAN DEAN Modified: June 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm •  Published: June 18, 2013

An 18-year-old who graduated as a valedictorian from Classen School of Advanced Studies last month went missing Sunday while on vacation with his family in Ecuador, his father said.

August Reiger was hiking with his younger brother and his parents, Chris and Randa Reiger, in the town of Banos when he disappeared Sunday afternoon, Chris Reiger said.

The family was staying at a hotel in the town, which Chris Reiger described as an Ecuadorean version of Aspen, Colo. The family decided to go hiking Sunday.

“On the mountain there are a couple of trails that take a few hours to make a loop,” Chris Reiger said. “We started on one of them.”

August Reiger went ahead of the rest of the family. When they reached a pavilion at the top of the mountain, they did not see him, and he was not at the hotel when they returned.

“The really strange thing about it is that whatever happened to him was in the space of five or 10 minutes,” Chris Reiger said. “We were right behind him.”

Chris Reiger said local authorities quickly responded and began searching the trails. Dozens of firefighters from across the country are involved in the search, along with the Ecuadorean military. Family members also have been in contact with the U.S. State Department.

“He couldn't have gotten lost,” Reiger said. “The whole of the trail is visible from the hotel. You can see the way down. It's a tourist area, and it's not isolated at all. If he was hurt on the trail, somebody would have seen him.”

Chris Reiger said authorities think August Reiger either fell off a steep ledge just off the trails or was kidnapped, although Banos is considered a safe part of the country.

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