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[liberationtech] UPDATE: Missing Stanford Student Found Safe in Malaysia

Yosem Companys companys at
Sat Aug 20 09:18:24 PDT 2011


Missing Stanford Student Found Safe in Malaysia
Jacob Boehm would have been lost 10 days without search effort, mom says.
By Aaron Selverston

A Stanford music student who went missing yesterday has turned up safe
in a Malaysian park, his mother said.

Jacob Neil Boehm, 22, who also coaches debate at Paly, disappeared
last weekend while traveling in Jerantut, Pahang District, Malaysia.
This morning he phoned home to his parents on a specialized two-way
radio from Taman Negara National Park, his mother said.

“He said he was safe, that ‘it was a long story’ and that he would
call us when he gets out of the park in a few days,” said his mother,
Nancy Luberoff, in an email. “We are beyond relieved and happy that he
is safe.”

Nancy said that without the search that resulted from a coordinated
social media campaign, Jacob would have gone ten days without
communication with the outside world.

Jacob has been updating an online map while traveling throughout the
region from small town to small town, immersing himself in local
culture and volunteering in areas ravaged by the tsunami.

He also posted regularly on his Google+ page, where his most recent
post, on Aug. 10, depicted photographs from a Thai school where

“Given that Jacob found a way to contact us every two to three days
during this entire three-month trip in Southeast Asia, it was very
uncharacteristic of him to not contact us for six days,” she said.

“Clearly it was the power of social media that helped us find him --
though, of course, he was never lost. We are the ones who were lost,”
she said.

Through Facebook, Jacob’s parents found a Malaysian student at
Stanford whose father works in the Prime Minister's office.  His
connection, coupled with the hard work of the US Consulate, surfaced
Jacob so quickly, according to Nancy.

“We all wonder, at what point do you start worrying?” she said. “Do we
wait five days, six days, seven days, eight days? No parent knows the

Nancy described the whole experience as “overwhelming”, and was
thankful to everyone who helped in the effort.

She also said she does not regret e-mailing 12 of Jacob's friends
Friday to ask for help.

“We just never imagined that over 4,000 people would care enough to
help,” she said. “Few of us ever get to experience this kind of
outpouring of love and support in our lives,” she said.

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