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Canadian Backpacker (Teena Timm) missing in South America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Canadian Backpacker (Teena Timm) missing in South America

1. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

I got a request the other day to post this and hopefully it can/will help

Quoting "email request"

Relatives, friends, and Canadian authorities hope to find people who recently travelled with or heard from TEENA TIMM of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Teena left for South America in March '05, stayed in regular contact with home, but nobody heard from her ever since Wednesday June 15 last, when she was probably in Tupiza, Bolivia, heading to La Paz or Tarija. She may have been on her way to Argentina later on.

She didn't use her bank- nor e-mailaccount anymore ever since June 15th. For many reasons it is not at all like Teena during this trip, to stay out of touch with relatives and close friends for more than a few days at maximum. She is officially missing meanwhile.

Teena is 32 yrs old, 5 feet 7 inches tall (170cm), has big brown curly hair, green eyes, she weighs approx. 140 pounds (63 kgs), and signs her signature with broad "T"s. Please visit http://www.teenatimm.com to read more detailed information about her.The site has an English, Spanish and Portuguese version.

If you heard about her or know of her whereabouts, please e-mail Ralph McLean at: shankland_the_dog@hotmail.com

Contact details for the Canadian Embassy / Consulate in Bolivia and Argentina are specified on a/m website.

Many thanks for your attention. And if you are still out there, please print off the webpage as a poster, with Teena's photo, and spread the word!

posted on behalf of Teena's relatives and her friend Ralph McLean http://www.teenatimm.com

2. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

Update / latest news, from information supplied by Ralph McLean

Ralph will be leaving for Argentina on Tuesday July 19. It's agreed that the journey and task that lies ahead, is not something that Teena's parents should carry out themselves. As per Sunday July 17th, 2005 there is no more information then they originally had, apart from the fact that they have new information that contradicts other info. Media have been a huge help on the home front, in terms of support for the family.

It is known that:

  • The hotel she stayed at in Tupiza was the El Toro Hotel.
  • She may have been heading to La Paz or Tarija in Bolivia before going on to Argentina.
  • The friends she may have been hanging out with are quite possibly an Argentine couple.
  • They may have been from a village near Jujuy (Huhuy) in Argentina.
  • The Argentine couple may have been selling jewelry for a living. But it is not known how long Teena was with them.

The last person they can OFFICIALLY place Teena with is a fellow Israeli backpacker. He asked her to come to La Paz, she said no because she wanted to go to Tarija and then Argentina instead. The Israeli went to La Paz. The relatives are in contact with him, but he has not been able to give any more news. One of their sources says Teena checked out of the El Toro hotel, going to Tarija on the 14th or 15th. There were only a few other backpackers staying there at the time so she may have been with one or all of them. Canadian Foreign Affairs is checking with their embassies to see if they can get in touch with them in regards to Teena's whereabouts.

If Teena went to Tarija, they are fairly certain of the information below. It's an excerpt from info supplied by one of their dedicated contacts:
----------------
INFORMATION (pls: some infos may need further confirmation)

Tarija has internet in every corner of the city and ADSL line. Most of hostals are empty now, very few tourists/travellers.
(***Note by Ralph - One of the questions the family and I are asking ourselves is - Why didn't Teena email from here, if she in fact headed there?)

I visited the bus terminal police in Tarija. They archive the list of passengers of all busses that depart and arrive. I told them that you will come in two weeks and check the archives in more detail.

There are only 3 night bus companies that service Tupiza - Tarija. JUANES and EXPRESSO DIAMANTE have daily departure (tupiza-tarija & tarija-tupiza). Depart 19:30-20:00 and arrive at 03:00-05:00. The third company, TRANS CRISTAL has weekly service.

The officer told me that between Tupiza - Tarija, there are no other transport, only the bus form these 3 companies. I checked the record of the passenger list :

ARRIVAL IN TARIJA, I checked June 11-22
Bus Juanez : complete records. No Teena.
Bus Expresso Diamante : missing record (or maybe no service) for June 12,13,21. On available records, no Teena.
Bus Trans Cristal : had service Jun 15 & 21. No Teena.

DEPARTURE FROM TARIJA, I checked June 15-21
Basically I went through all names in all busses leaving (to Bermejo, Villamontes, Tupiza, Potosi, Santa Cruz, La Paz, etc). No Teena.

From Tarija to Argentina, people go to Bermejo, 4 hours, asphalted road then continue to Jujuy.

I checked hostals listed in LP South America on a Shoestring : Alojamiento Ocho Hermanos (renovation), Residencial Zeballos, Residencial Rosario, Hosteria España, Hostal Miraflores and some residencial around the terminal. No sign of Teena.
----------------

From Foreign Affairs Canada, the relatives were informed that Teena (or rather someone with Teena's passport) crossed July 5th at Pocitos border post which is supposed to be somewhere near Yacuiba, which is in fact an out of the way border crossing. However, another contact with good contacts in the Argentine Border Police confirms the exact opposite: that she NEVER crossed into Argentina. So which is it? At this point they don't know. They are more inclined to listen to their Foreign Affairs office but the crossing makes no sense to them at all, as from what they have been informed by local area people is that the whole area that she might be in is just a bunch of mining communities and not exactly a "tourist attraction".

Teena hasn't used her bank card or Mastercard since June 14th, so if she is healthy and OK, what money is she living on? So if anything, her relatives and friends are more curious of what has happened to her then ever before.

The many 'best wishes' e-mails people have been sending are very much appreciated. That kind of response is so enormous that there is a special e-mail address now to mail Teena's parents directly: teenatimm@hotmail.com

As for Ralph's mailaddress everyone is requested now to mail him only if you can really help on the ground, you are in the area or have friends and relatives that live in the area that can help.

And it's repeated that if you are (travelling) IN the area, you do NOT need permission to print off the webpage (it prints off into two pages, in three languages of choice English, Spanish and Portugese). If you can, please hand them out to guesthouses, hostels, hospitals, police stations, bus stations, etc in the area of Southern Bolivia and Northern Argentina.

There are good contacts doing leg work on the ground there, as well as very helpful contacts with the Argentina media. In view of the search of Foreign Affairs Canada too, re. information everybody is primarily looking for solid leads, not generalizations.

Teena's parents as well as her close friend Ralph McLean feel they cannot thank enough everybody who is helping them for their assistance so far. Please keep an eye on the website regularly, as that is where the most up to date information will be published.

www.teenatimm.com

3. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Time to click on the website and visit the guestbook: Teena has been found as of today, she was unable to contact anyone before due to geographical constraints. Another backpacker story with a happy ending!!!

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

You beat me to it Anne, and I got an email from them letting me know... am I that slow?? (please don't answer that :) )

Anyway, yep, she's been found! Thankfully this one had a happy ending. A wise lesson though, if you think you're going to have a hard time contacting family and friends for a while, let them know this beforehand!!!

5. Posted by ukmassage (Inactive 1052 posts) 11y

intensive police investigation, embasssies appeal, international search campaign launched because she did not inform anybody about her plans.

Her passport should be confiscated by her family and she should be barred from international travel (exept guided bus tours, package holidays and cruises) for life

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

I have to agree, this is very stupid indeed (and the girl is 32!). The new story (her moms version) is that she was robbed and had to learn how to make jewelry and then sell it to make enough money to get into an internet cafe. Of course calling collect was not an option...... There's an interesting article (in Spanish) here that might be a bit more accurate. She joined hippies and was doing drugs and didn't want to contact anyone etc. (if my spanish doesn't forsake me)...

I wonder if we ever will hear the real story.

I'm also annoyed as it doens't bode well for other travellers that go missing. I'd be hesitant to post something here if I get another email like this in any case!

7. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 11y

I'm so glad she turned up though it makes my blood run cold when I read about stories like this!

But yeah, what an idiot.

8. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Quoting Sam I Am

I'm also annoyed as it doens't bode well for other travellers that go missing. I'd be hesitant to post something here if I get another email like this in any case!

I think it was good for other travelers to see what kind of disarray one can cause when backpacking around the world just because of one's inability to use a bit of common sense. I wouldnt hesitate from posting something like this here again Sam, it is always good to see the good and bad of every situation so hopefully this type of stuff will not be repeated again.

We should add to the TOOL section, "WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU KNOW YOU WILL BE INCOMMUNICATED FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME": BE SURE TO CALL SOMEONE BEFORE HAND TO WARN THEM OF YOUR PLANS. (Duh!)

9. Posted by Cecy (Inactive 6 posts) 11y

Quoting Sam I Am

I have to agree, this is very stupid indeed (and the girl is 32!). The new story (her moms version) is that she was robbed and had to learn how to make jewelry and then sell it to make enough money to get into an internet cafe. Of course calling collect was not an option...... There's an interesting article (in Spanish) here that might be a bit more accurate. She joined hippies and was doing drugs and didn't want to contact anyone etc. (if my spanish doesn't forsake me)...

You re right Sam, Spanish version says She seemed to be on drugs and that how it was not possible she couldn´t call her family by revert payment if she run out of money...
We´ll never know the true story...
But was a good experience for people from Travelerspoint and whoever wanted to help. Wasn´t it?

[ Edit: Fixed quote ]