Harry Devert, who was on a transcontinental motorcycle adventure – somewhat reminiscent of “The Motorcycle Diaries” which recounted the travels of revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara” on an old motorcycle – went missing in Mexico more than two weeks ago.
Devert, 32, has not been in touch with his family or girlfriend in New York since Jan. 25 when he sent his girlfriend Sarah Schiear an ominous message via WhatsApp.
“Just got an hour and a half long escort out of some area it was too dangerous for me to be,” the message said. “Stopping for lunch and … voila Internet. … Gonna get back on the road soon. Apparently there’s another military escort waiting for me in some other town… I’m running way late because of the crazy military stuff… hopefully get a chance to talk to you tonight when I (hopefully) finally arrive.”
His mother Ann Devert, of Pelham, N.Y., told CBS 2 she is desperate to find her only child.
“I love my son,” she said. “And I don’t need him next to me, but I need to know he’s alive in the world and that he’s OK.”
She continued: “I’m hoping for anyone who has a connection in Mexico to that area to tell people to be on the lookout for my son, my beloved, beloved son.”
According to his family, Devert, who was traveling on a green Kawasaki motorcycle, has visited a monarch butterfly reserve in Macheors, a city in southwestern Mexico, and was planning to visit a beach in Zihuatanejo, on the Pacific coast, where the final scene in the “Shawshank Redemption” was filmed.
"My son is a great communicator and he always lets me know -- because I'm anxious -- as close as he can where he's going to be or if he's going to be out of touch," his mother told CNN Saturday.
The U.S. Embassy is working with Mexican officials to find him, along with the French Embassy, as Devert, who was born is France, is also a French national.
Michoacan, the area in which Devert was traveling, is a highly volatile area in Mexico. Vigilante self-defense groups in numerous communities have engaged in deadly confrontations with the Knights Templar drug cartel, which operates across the area.
The government has even joined forces with the vigilantes as the drug cartel has become further entrenched in the agricultural state.
The Knights Templar drug cartel was founded in December 2010 by former members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel. It deals with both synthetic and natural drugs and is known to commit murder, stage kidnappings and run extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies.
According to CBS 2, attorney Darren Del Sardo has volunteered to help the family.
“Here we have a single mother who really doesn’t have the resources to find out exactly what’s going on and how our system here works when people are traveling abroad,” he said.
Friends have created a Facebook page with the hope that someone will give them any information that will help Devert get back home.
There has been no activity on Devert’s credit cards since his disappearance and his cell phone is no longer in service.
In a statement Saturday, a U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed that a U.S. citizen was reported missing near Morelia, Michoacan, but declined further comment "due to privacy considerations," CNN reports.
"When a U.S. citizen is reported missing in Mexico, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate works with both the missing person's family and Mexican and U.S. law enforcement agencies to locate the missing individual and return him or her to safety," the statement said. "For missing person cases in Mexico, Mexican law enforcement institutions generally have jurisdiction and play the lead role in the conduct of investigations. We work closely with Mexican authorities to monitor such cases and seek progress as quickly as possible."