Relatives of a Connecticut woman who disappeared in Japan last month now believe she may have been the victim of a crime.
According to The Messenger, Patricia “Pattie” Wu-Murad disappeared from Storrs while allegedly hiking the Kohechi route of the Kumano-Kodo trail in Japan on April 10. She was having breakfast at Tsuji’s, a two-bedroom inn in Osaka at the time and was hiking an 11.2-mile trail.
Police, family members and search parties have been searching the remote area for weeks. Search and rescue (SAR) teams have searched crevices and water, using helicopters and drones to find them.
“She seemed energetic,” innkeeper Shigeaki Tsuji, who was the last to see Pattie, told The Messenger. “This case is strange from the start. I don’t understand why someone with so much experience would get lost on such an easy path.”
“I worry if she got lost at the beginning. And I’m more worried that maybe someone drove by and kidnapped her. All of us in the village are worried about her. We are all waiting for her return.”
Family members added that Pattie, a seasoned traveler, has spent months hiking in France, Spain, Egypt and Jordan since retiring in 2020. Pattie’s sister-in-law, Julie Murad-Caruso, described Pattie as an “expert hiker” who has also hiked trails in North America, reports CT Insider.
A GoFundMe page set up to help fund the search said around 8am on April 10, camera footage captured three people on the trail near Wu-Murad’s guest house. All three people said they hadn’t seen Wu-Murad in The Path.
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Family members also wrote that a hiker said she encountered a man near the hiking trails on April 20 who asked for help practicing his English. So far, police have not confirmed if the man has been found or questioned.
“We received information from a trekker traveling alone that a man near one of the Kumano-Kodo trails asked her to go home with him to help him practice his English. “This incident occurred on April 20, ten days after Pattie’s disappearance,” the site reads.
Gojo Police Station is currently investigating the disappearance along with local police and Nara Prefectural State Police.
The investigation is ongoing, but no new information has been provided so far. Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Family Handout]
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