Watch CBS News

FBI Joins Search for Colo. Hiker In Nepal

Twenty-three year old Aubrey Sacco, a self proclaimed free spirit headed off to the far east last fall on a search for adventure. But when Sacco set off on a ten day trail through Langtang National park in Nepal, she lost touch with her parents.

It's been two months now since Paul and Connie Sacco (Aubrey's parents) have gotten an update on her condition and whereabouts.

Last month, Sacco's father and brother traveled to Nepal in an effort to locate her. The search was fruitless but they did recover Sacco's laptop, video camera, and a journal all left at her hotel room, but there was no trace of Sacco.

"We just feel the energy you know and we just feel like she needs our help to her get home," said Sacco's mother, Connie.

Now, Sacco's missing persons investigation is being treated as a criminal investigation with the Denver FBI involved.

Paul and Connie Sacco spoke to co-anchor Erica Hill this morning on "The Early Show" about the continued efforts to search for their daughter. Though this case has taken a serious turn, Paul Sacco is thankful to have the FBI involved.

"Well, the FBI has a lot of investigative resources that they can bring to bear that even the government of Nepal doesn't have," said Paul.

But having visited the trail his daughter went missing on, Paul has a new perspective on what may have happened in his daughter's situation.

"Well, the most important thing was I learned that the trek is not as dangerous as a lot of people believe it is," said Paul. "When people hear the word Himalayas, they think of Mount Everest. And really this is a trail not unlike the ones in Colorado, but it just goes on forever. But it isn't as dangerous as we had previously thought. So it's very unlikely she had an accident."

Though Sacco's parents believe that something may have gone awry in her disappearance, they still have faith. Sacco's mother Connie has said that she felt an energy that her daughter needed help, but that same energy is reassuring her that Sacco is alive somewhere, and just needs some help getting home.

"I feel her energy. I don't feel the dread," explained Connie. "I feel the worry, you know, quite a bit, but not a dread. Not like we've lost her. And my husband is feeling the same way. Our family does. We all seem to have the same view and that gives us our strength to keep this search going until we find her."

Because there is no evidence to the contrary, Sacco's parents and friends are putting in full force to bring her back. Sacco's friends have dedicated a Facebook page to the missing hiker as the search continues on.

Sacco's parents are haunted by the worst case scenarios; the idea that she may be alive but she may be stranded with a kidnapper or that their efforts to bring her back are not swift enough.

The Sacco's are speaking out asking for as much help as they can get regarding information on their daughter. As the investigation wears on, small bumps in the road are arising.

While the people of Nepal have been nothing but welcoming and helpful in the search for Sacco, Pal says that the closer they are to Sacco's last known location, the harder it seems to be to get information.

"It's such an irony. The local people are very friendly. They try to be helpful as a rule that's how these people are," said Paul. "However, the more time has gone on, the more we've realized that at the hotel area where our daughter went missing, particularly at that spot, the people are not talking. We know that they know something, that they saw something, but they're not talking for fear of reprisal."

The last time Sacco's mother heard from her before her hike began, she had not said anything that would rouse suspicion.

"She told us that she was going to be gone seven to ten days," said Connie. "We listened to that, we tracked it, we counted the days for her return and hoping for an e-mail from her it telling us that she was okay."

The only things recovered by Sacco's father from her hotel room were items that are usually left behind on a hike to keep a backpack light. No useful information was found in the diary to help search efforts on the mountain.

Aubrey Sacco simply vanished without a trace, but her parents are staying optimistic and hopeful for her return.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.