“The young man told several people that he was not prepared for France and that he was having trouble making friends,” Vaillant said.
On Tuesday, the boy’s father pushed back on the prosecutor’s comments.
“I just challenge the French prosecutor — he doesn’t know our son,” Kenneth DeLand Sr. said. said CNNVaillant added that he was “making statements based on someone he doesn’t know.”
Authorities say DeLand left Grenoble voluntarily.
The elder DeLand said his son traveled with friends and never showed any signs of difficulty making friends.
“We were in constant contact. If it wasn’t every day, it would be every day,” DeLand Sr. told CNN.
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He said the family had been “in the dark” about the investigation because of French privacy laws and had contacted the US embassy for help.
“There is no interaction of information. This privacy act prevents disclosure of information. You can give them information, but they can’t give you information,” DeLand Sr. said.
“I called the local police stations and the same applies to the French police stations in the area where he was last seen. So it’s very limited,” he told CNN.
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The US State Department is “aware of reports of a missing US citizen in France,” a CNN spokesperson said.
“When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they search and share information with families whenever possible,” the spokesperson said.
St. John Fisher University “will continue to do everything it can to assist in the investigation to locate Kenneth DeLand,” the school said in a statement to CNN.
“University officials have been in close contact with the American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS) and Kenneth’s family, who are conducting the search along with local law enforcement agencies, and have been assisting them during this time. Our campus community hopes that Kenneth will be found safe and sound and return home,” the message reads.
Meanwhile, a Boy Scout official who has known DeLand, an Eagle Scout in Clifton Springs, for eight years, also disputed the idea that the student was struggling to make friends.
“He’s very outgoing, outgoing. As you know, it’s certainly not typical to not make friends,” Jim Conners, committee chairman for Boy Scout Troop 59, told Fox News Digital.
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“Wherever he was, he could find someone to talk to, and I’m sure he got that from his dad. Because the father can talk to anyone and carry on a conversation. It doesn’t matter who it is,” he added.
DeLand was last seen carrying a black backpack and wearing a red jacket, scarf, gray skirt and greens.
He spent $8.40 at a sports store in the southeastern city of Montelimar on Dec. 3, according to a bank statement.
The DeLand family has launched a website, findkendeland.com, where people can share tips and information.
“I hope Interpol gets involved and we’ve interviewed several news outlets,” DeLand Sr. told CNN. “And we hope that with your help and the help of others, we can get the word out there.”