By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – An American family traveling through the Amazon region was found safe on Wednesday afternoon by Brazilian authorities after being robbed by river pirates and spending two days in the jungle, say officials from the Public Security Secretary in Para state (SEGUP).
According to officials, Vila Curumu residents found U.S. natives, Adam Harteau, 39, Emily Harteau, 37, and their two daughters, age three and seven were at a river bank, holding on to a surf board. The villa is a few miles up the river from where the American family was robbed while travelling on a ferry from Belem to Macapa in the Amazon region.
Officials, however, have yet to determine why the family left the ferry after police officers had already taken the vessel to a safe harbor and had already talked to the passengers on board.
“When the first officers arrived at the scene, they (family) were inside the ferry, that was around 3AM on Monday (October 30th). The officers collected information on the whereabouts of the assailants and left to look for them,” said André Cunha, deputy secretary of Segup.
But when the officers returned with some of the stolen objects, including the family’s notebook computer, the Harteaus were nowhere to be found.
“The ferry was already in a safe place, the robbery had already passed, so there was no longer any context of impending violence, and we do not know exactly why they left,” Cunha told Brazilian media company G1. According to Cunha a small quantity of marijuana was found in the family’s car when it was taken off the ferry by Federal Police.
“The fact is: after the police left to look for the assailants, they left the vessel,” concluded Cunha.
According to local news reports, the family had minor scratches when they were found and told residents that they spent the two days eating berries they found along the river bed. The Harteaus have been travelling abroad since 2012, and the youngest daughter was born in Florianopolis, in the Southern Brazilian state of Parana, in 2014.