Police Search for Visually-Impaired American Tourist Missing in Peru

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Sacred Valley of Cusco Peru: The Sacred Valley of Cusco. (Photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / dimarik)

A visually impaired woman from Detroit, Michigan, went missing in Peru, putting police on a ‘red alert’ status as they fan out across the country to find her.

Carla Valpeoz, 35, was last spotted entering the Incan ruins at Pisac Archeological Park in Peru but hasn’t been heard from since December 12th.

She was reported missing to police by a friend on December 15th when she didn’t show up at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima to fly back to the U.S. On December 11th, she spent the night at Pariwana Hostel in Cusco. Surveillance video shows her leaving the hostel in a taxi at 8:45 a.m. on December 12th.

Police have interviewed the taxi driver who said he took Valpeoz to a transport hub in Cusco, where she took another car to Pisac.

“So this is the info we have at the moment,” Col. Manual Mar of the Peru national police said at a news conference. “At this moment we have moved our teams to Pisac with high-mountain personnel and we are sweeping all the sanctuary and the perimeter in Pisac.”

“We are committed to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We have teams on all fronts searching for her at the moment throughout the area and we have dedicated our entire force to find this person because we are very worried,” Mar said.

“We cannot stress how urgent it is to locate my sister because a lot of time has passed,” Valpeoz’s brother, Carlos Valpeoz of Brooklyn, New York, told ABC News on Thursday.

Carlos said that the family has received unconfirmed tips concerning his sister. Some have claimed to have seen his sister in Arequipa, Puerto, Maldanodo, Puna, and Urubamba. The family passed the tips onto the police.

Valpeoz’s father traveled to Peru to help police find his daughter. The U.S. State Department is also involved in the search.

Valpeoz was in Peru to attend a friend’s wedding. The day before she went missing she visited Machu Picchu, where she connected with a tour group to visit the highest peak overlooking the ruins.

A legally blind social activist from Detroit has gone missing in Peru in a disappearance that has triggered a U.S. State Department and Peruvian police investigation with her family pleading for the public’s help in finding her. https://t.co/YEBm19t5Ys

As an advocate for the visually impaired and the author of the travel book, Visionless Adventures, Valpeoz travels often around the world to places like Egypt, Yemen, and South America. In a Youtube video, she explained that she was diagnosed with optic nerve atrophy at 10 years old. She has been gradually going blind since then.

“So it’s my belief that she wanted to see and experience as much as she could before she couldn’t see anymore. I think that is a driving force for her. She wanted to travel as much as she could whether with friends or independently,” her brother, Carlos said.

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