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‘Every day brings new hope:’ Family of missing NC teacher praises Mexico’s search effort

Patrick Braxton-Andrew’s family told The Charlotte Observer that he took this selfie in Urique, Mexico, with Copper Canyon in the background. The picture was in his camera that Mexican authorities found in his hotel room, family members told the Observer.
Patrick Braxton-Andrew’s family told The Charlotte Observer that he took this selfie in Urique, Mexico, with Copper Canyon in the background. The picture was in his camera that Mexican authorities found in his hotel room, family members told the Observer. Courtesy of Patrick Braxton-Andrew's family

The family of a North Carolina teacher missing in Mexico praised the efforts of top Mexican officials to find their loved one and told The Charlotte Observer on Saturday, they are extremely hopeful he will be found and will safely return home.

“We all feel very positive,” Patrick Braxton-Andrew’s mother, Jean Braxton, told the Observer by phone. Her husband, Gary Andrew, their other son, Kerry, and Kerry’s wife, Kathleen, also participated in the interview via conference call from Mexico.

“Every day brings new hope, new conversations, new connections,” Jean Braxton said.

Patrick Braxton-Andrew is a 34-year-old Class of 2006 Davidson College graduate who teaches Spanish at the Woodlawn School, just north of Davidson in southern Iredell County.

The avid traveler and hiker went missing Oct. 28 in or near the village of Urique, the college posted in an alumni alert that week.

He was supposed to meet his brother in Mexico City two days later, according to a post by their dad on the college’s alumni Facebook page, The Charlotte Observer reported in a Nov. 3 article.

Police might soon use their two Black Hawk helicopters to help the numerous on-the-ground searchers who have included local indigenous people familiar with the terrain, Gary Andrew said.

The family, however, does not believe Patrick Braxton-Andrew went missing while hiking, his brother told the Observer on Saturday.

That’s because his brother never hiked without his camera, Kerry Braxton-Andrew said. Authorities found the camera in his brother’s hotel room, Kerry Braxton-Andrew said.

While the ground search continues, authorities are turning their attention to “an investigation” of Patrick Braxton-Andrew’s disappearance, his brother said.

Eighty-seven officials from various agencies in the north-central Mexican state of Chihuahua “are directly involved” in the investigation into Patrick Braxton-Andrew’s whereabouts, Kathleen Braxton-Andrew said during Saturday’s interview. “It’s their top priority.”

On Thursday, the family met with Chihuahua’s attorney general, “Senor Fiscal Cesar Peniche,” according to a family post on a Facebook page where they provide search updates.

“We shared photos of Patrick from his various trips to Latin America so Senor Fiscal could see Patrick’s love of the people and the culture,” according to the family’s post. “Senor Fiscal assured us that the Government of Chihuahua is aware of and concerned about Patrick’s disappearance, and the State will continue devoting as many resources as necessary to Urique.”

On Friday, family members met with the governor of Chihuahua, Javier Corral Jurado. “Senor Fiscal Cesar Peniche was in attendance once again which confirmed to us that the State of Chihuahua is committed to helping us bring Patrick home,” the family said in a Facebook post Satuday morning. “Governor Jurado stated many times that this was his top priority and he is using all of his resources in the search and investigation.

“We walked out of those meetings with tremendous hope,” the family’s post on Saturday continued. “The Mexican authorities told us that jurisdiction and diplomacy were not going to be barriers in their search. This is about a life, the life of Patrick, and they are going to do everything they can to bring him home ... Their own sincerity and compassion will never be forgotten.”

“People have been very cooperative, very supportive,” Gary Andrew told the Observer on Saturday. “We are just so grateful for what everyone is doing.”

A “Community Gathering for Patrick Braxton-Andrew” is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Sunday on the Davidson Village Green on Main Street.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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