It’s been over a week since 35-year-old American tourist Carla Valpeoz went missing on a trail near a small village in Peru. Valpeoz is considered legally blind and will eventually completely lose her vision, her family says. Originally from Detroit, she is an experienced traveler who can get around on her own with the help of a cane. One of the last people to see Valpeoz was a bus driver who dropped her off in Pisac near the Urubamba River on December 12. She was embarking on a hiking trail to an Inca archaeological site. She was later seen by trail employee and an archeologist who both said she was traveling alone, according to CNN.
Pisac authorities plan to go door to door throughout the village to try to find someone who may have spotted Valpeoz along the way. The village is about 22 miles northeast of Cusco, 683 miles from Lima, the nation’s capital. To assist in the search efforts authorities are bringing in expert mountaineers and search dogs. Drones will also be used to survey the area from above in an attempt to spot any sign of the missing hiker.
MISSING U.S. TOURIST: American tourist Carla Valpeoz, who is legally blind, is missing in Peru, last seen leaving her hostel after a visit to Machu Picchu; her family says she missed her flight home and police are investigating. @DavidMuir reports. https://t.co/DEgcQiUGsk pic.twitter.com/Pf1k1Zucpo— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) December 19, 2018
In a public statement, Valpeoz’s family spoke of her independent nature and bravery. She has never let her lack of sight hold her back from living the life of her dreams. After being diagnosed with optic nerve atrophy at 10-years-old, her family did all they could to raise her to be self sufficient and prepare her to one day lose her sight altogether.
“Carla is a very determined person, a humanitarian in her community, a leader devoted to life, to travel and immersing herself. Since an early age, our family has prepared her for when she would lose her sight and that’s why she wants to see so much,” her brother, Carlos Valpeoz, told CNN.
He went on to say that he believes his sister would not put herself in any unnecessary danger and was an experienced hiker. Valpeoz had made the trip to Peru for a wedding and had planned to see all she could of the area during her stay. In an attempt to learn more about other cultures, she has traveled all over the world to conduct research. She plans to write a book about her perspective on life based on the cultures she has been able to experience.
“I want to create a platform and I want to bridge communities of cultures… so we can learn to work together,” she has said previously.