Conn. (WTNH) — A Connecticut woman has gone missing in Japan after failing to reach her checkpoint while hiking a week ago. Now, her husband and daughter are heading to the country to search for her.
Patricia “Pattie” Wu-Murad, 60, of Storrs, is a mother of three. According to a GoFundMe posted by her family, Pattie embarked on a solo expedition through the mountainous region of Japan — a third pilgrimage for the experienced hiker. However, she never reached her checkpoint seven days ago. Now, her family is frantic and pleading for help.
Pattie was last seen on April 10 when she checked out of the Mandokoro guesthouse in Higashiomi City around 7 a.m. She was set to stay at the Taiyo-no-yu guesthouse 11.2 miles away that night. Her family said they believed she was planning to follow a scenic hiking trail called Kumano Kodo from one guest house to the next — a trip that should have taken around seven to nine hours.
Yet, Pattie never arrived.
Pattie’s daughter Murphy said that she planned to be in Osaka on April 13 and 14 to meet up with a couple close to the family in Ryozen-ji Temples on April 16. The family’s friends went to the location but did not find Pattie.
Murphy said Pattie was reported missing to local authorities on April 10, but she has yet to be found despite a 72-hour search and rescue effort. The U.S. Embassy reached out to the family on April 14.
Murphy and her family decided to “take matters into our own hands” and hired a private search and rescue mountain crew. They also flew out to Osaka to look for Pattie themselves.
In the GoFundMe — which has now reached over $100,000 in donations — the family asked for help with costs for the rescue crew, plane tickets, a helicopter for aerial search, insurance, accommodation, and “other expenses that we can’t even begin to comprehend at the moment.”
Murphy said she plans on heading to the Gojo Police Department on Tuesday with her father and a Japanese native family friend to get more information regarding the search. Then, they plan on visiting Taiyo-no-yu for a few nights with a local guide and translator to track Pattie’s steps.
The private search and rescue team was deployed on April 16, though Murphy said they have come up empty-handed. The search will continue in areas where individuals are more likely to get lost, fall from heights, or get swept up by the river. The private search and rescue team told Murphy they believed “that a very irregular situation occurred on April 10.”
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal released the following statement:
Having spoken to members of Pattie’s family, some now already in Japan, I am determined to seek every possible source of search and rescue to aid her. I have contacted the State Department and the White House to assist and will continue helping the Murad family through every avenue available. I am deeply concerned and am praying for Pattie’s safe return to her family.
Pattie’s husband Kirk told the Hartford Courant that this situation is a “nightmare.” He said the pair had wed in 1990 and were set to celebrate their 33rd anniversary with their families next month.
Anyone in contact with Pattie or who had any message interactions during these dates and times is asked to contact Murphy directly.