STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — An international effort to raise awareness about a Storrs woman who went missing last month while hiking in Japan has led to a tip about a man near the trail she was planning to be on, according to an update from Patricia Wu-Murad’s daughter.
About 10 days after Wu-Murad went missing, a man approached a solo female hiker near the trail asking if she’d go home with him to practice his English, a post on the GoFundMe reads.
“We still believe there is a possibility that Pattie’s trust in people could have made her a victim of foul play and all stories and suggestions are welcome,” the post reads. “We remain determined in our pursuit to find Pattie, to find answers.”
The Murad family forwarded the information to local police and the FBI. The hiker is willing to help with the investigation.
Wu-Murad went missing on April 10 after she never arrived at her next hostel while hiking the Kumano Kodō trail. Her husband was notified three days later. The 60-year-old was last seen a quarter mile from the trail.
Murphy Murad, Wu-Murad’s daughter, wrote that while Japanese police have faced dead ends in the investigation, international attention on the case has led to more tips.
There have been no evidence that she was ever on the trail, according to the family.
In the time since she disappeared, she has missed Mothers Day, her 33rd wedding anniversary and her husband’s birthday.
The search and rescue team was unable to search for a week due to heavy rain, and has restarted its efforts. They plan to fly another U.S. team to Japan to try to find her.
Each U.S. search and rescue team member costs $5,000 to travel to the region, according to the post. The family wants to send at least six team members, and is making another push to raise funds for the effort.
The GoFundMe had raised more than $197,000 of its $225,000 goal, as of Sunday afternoon.