UPDATE: Whidbey Island backpacker missing in Argentina has been located.

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Alec Zimmerman has been missing in Argentina since Tuesday, April 9th.

Update Sunday 6:00pm: Alec Zimmerman is back in contact with her family and is perfectly okay.

Here’s the message she posted on Facebook earlier today:

FB Message

Update Sunday 2:30pm: Alec Zimmerman has been located. Records show her crossing the border into Chile yesterday and exchanging money. We’re awaiting more details from her friends and family.

A young American woman backpacking through Argentina en route to Peru has not been heard from since early morning, Tuesday, April 9. A missing person’s report has been filed with local police in Buenos Aires, and the FBI has been notified.

Alec Zimmerman, 27, has been missing in Argentina since Tuesday, April 9th.

Alec Zimmerman, 27, has been missing in Argentina since Tuesday, April 9th.

Alec Zimmerman, a 27-year-old native of Whidbey Island, Wash. was last seen leaving a private residence in the Buenos Aires region of Argentina and entering a cab at 4:30 a.m., en route to South Port. She was last believed to have been meeting up with a Chilean truck driver named “Angel” to begin hitchhiking her way to Peru.

Argentina border patrol has a record of Zimmerman entering the country on March 3, with no reported exits through Mendoza crossing as of April 12.

A seasoned backpacker who has experience traveling through South America, Zimmerman has been traveling alone since parting ways with a friend on March 4. She was last seen wearing jeans and sneakers with a t-shirt and a black sport jacket.  She was carrying two bags—a large green one and an orange sleeping bag. She stands at 5-foot-2, 135 pounds, with a muscular build leftover from her gymnastics background in childhood. She has green eyes and short-cropped light brown hair, as well as a nose ring. She also has a bird tattoo on her upper back.

“We’re beyond worried at this point,” said Zimmerman’s mother, Marie Lincoln, of Whidbey Island. “Alec always checks in with either myself or one of her close friends. Not hearing from her for this long is highly unusual and worrisome.

There has been no reported communication from any of Zimmerman’s personal social media sites, and no email or phone calls since she was last seen on Tuesday morning April 9.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Alec Zimmerman, please contact Alec’s mother Marie Lincoln at [email protected] and 360-551-8187, or go directly to local authorities, or the FBI.

Alex is a cofounder and editor of The Seattle Globalist. He's a visual journalist whose work has been published by PBS, The Seattle Times, FRONTLINE/World and the Seattle Weekly.  Alex teaches journalism in the University of Washington's Department of Communication and recently directed the documentary film Barzan.

8 COMMENTS

  1. My heart and thoughts are with Alec’s family right now.

    I am a native of the Pacific Northwest but have been living in Buenos Aires for many years now. When I opened “Oregon Live” on the Internet tonight, I was surprised to see the news regarding the question of Alec’s whereabouts. I then decided to search the local (Buenos Aires) newspapers…online…but came up with nothing regarding her. I’m worried too…but will try to remain optomistic

  2. “A seasoned traveller” with a companion is entirely different to a YOUNG WOMAN TRAVELLING ALONE in a dangerous (my view) Country.

    • Argentina is certainly not a dangerous country (a lot less dangerous than the US) but is advisable to take care when hitchhiking near a big city (and Buenos Aires is a metropolis of 14 million people), especially alone. Outside the big urban areas, it seems to be safe (do it in couples), and in many areas of the interior (example: Patagonia) not only truck drivers, but also local people and tourists will stop for you.

    • I hope so, but it would be nice to have some sort of official “she was found” article. We’ve been spreading the word and I don’t want to post an erroneous update.

  3. We found her I am talking to her right now. She is in Peru. Thank you for all the concerns and prayers.

    Uncle of Alec

  4. New Headline: “Mom calls FBI after adult daughter fails to call home for 2 days from vacation”. Congratulations to this woman for going off the radar for at least a few days and having an experience of her own. I sure am glad I got to be a young traveler before the internet created this sense of necessary connectivity where 2 days of disconnect causes a panic. When I was her age (less than 2 decades ago) young travelers routinely went completely incommunicado for months at a time. We’d travel the length of continent and maybe send 2 postcards home. I think the process was more transformative because we’d have experiences that we’d feel, absorb, process, and hold before we needed to regurgitate them to people back home. Now, it seems like traveling for young people is just a race to get the pictures and tell the stories by blog or post before the experience even sinks in. I get so sad when I see young travelers staring at screens in internet cafes instead of walking the streets of places like Cuzco. Alec, go back out there, find some more dirt roads with no wireless signals. Have fun. And mom, have a little faith in your daughter’s ability to take care of herself. She sounds like a smart adventurous woman, you probably helped make her that way so just relax and enjoy it.

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