Missing Frenchman’s family makes tearful appeal

23rd February 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Frenchman who was cycling from France through Europe and Asia to China has not been seen since arriving in India in December 2007.

MUMBAI – The mother and twin sister of a French cyclist who has not been seen since arriving in India more than one year ago broke down in tears Friday as they issued an emotional appeal to trace his whereabouts.

Marie-Claire and Catherine Talleu wept as they urged the public to come forward with possible sightings of Jean-Baptiste Talleu, who was riding from France through Europe and Asia to China, where another of his sisters lives.

"I find it difficult to go home because I would like to come back with Jean-Baptiste," said Marie-Claire, who has been in India with her husband, Pierre-Marie, since last November trying to raise publicity about their son.

Jean-Baptiste Talleu, now 27, arrived in Mumbai on a flight from Dubai on the evening of 4 December 2007. He withdrew money at a cashpoint in the north of the city the following evening but has not been heard of since.

His blue Cannondale touring bike and camping equipment are also missing.

The family, from eastern France, and friends have put up a reward of 200,000 rupees (EUR 3,200) to encourage people to come forward. But so far their appeal has drawn a frustrating blank.

"We miss him and there are times when we have lots of hopes. We hope he's still alive because we don't have any proof that he's dead. We can't be sure of anything. We think he still needs our help," said Catherine.

Jean-Baptiste, a former Scout leader known as "JB", set off from the eastern French city of Nancy where he was a web designer, on 18 July 2007, travelling through Italy, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey and Iran.

His family registered a missing person complaint with police in Mumbai in mid-December 2007 and travelled to the city in May 2008 but enquiries at hotels and hospitals led nowhere.

Posters have been put up around India where he may have travelled, including in the southern city of Pondicherry, a former French colony, the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and in Roman Catholic churches.

A website has also been set up.

But despite possible sightings, including a claim that he had an accident, lost his memory and was in a New Delhi hospital, there have been no concrete leads, and none at all in Mumbai, they said.

AFP / Expatica

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