Missing Man's Location Still a Mystery to Family Who Learned He Was in Paris Days Before Attack
The family of a missing New York 26-year-old man is desperate for answers after learning he left his job and his home without saying a word and entered Paris days before the terrorist attacks.
Austin Taylor was last seen on November 2 leaving his East Village home around 6:30 a.m., a friend told police.
"I was going away for a week, he said 'I'll see you when you get home at the end of the week,'" a friend said.
She said she texted him three days later.
"I said 'how was work today?' and he didn't respond. I didn't know he had quit his job," she said.
Taylor had quit his job at a Manhattan-based virtual reality company the day after he was last seen, resigning through an email, a police source said.
He was reported missing a few days later. He had also turned off his phone.
He also never showed up to meet a prospective roommate at a new apartment, police said.
"He was supposed to move in on Halloween, but then I guess he must have told her he wasn't interested in it," a friend said.
Taylor's family was concerned, but they were comforted when police told them that the Columbia graduate had traveled to Paris, France.
"While we have not heard from Austin Taylor, the detective on his case has informed us that his passport was scanned in Paris. Therefore, we are officially calling off the search. We thank you all very much for your love, support and prayer," his mother, Lee Anne Taylor, wrote on Facebook on November 10.
Austin Taylor with his mother Lee Anne Taylor (Facebook)
Three days later, terrorists attacked the city, killing 129 people in several violent incidents. At least 221 people were hospitalized, with dozens seriously hurt, officials said.
"Thank you everyone for your continued concern, we have had NO communication from Austin yet. Prayers appreciated," Lee Anne Taylor posted on the day of the attack.
Pictures of Taylor made their way through social media sites with the hashtag #rechercheParis.
"#rechercheParisAustin Taylor please call your Mom. Please retweet," one person wrote on Twitter.
Five days after the terror attack, there was still no word on Taylor's whereabouts.
"There's been no news at all. They have one site that's set up to where the (families of the) victims of the Paris attacks can go. We've spoken with them and he's not on any of the lists. (He's not listed) as being hurt or anything like that," Taylor's father, Billy Taylor, told INSIDE EDITION.
It's not unlike the Columbia graduate to set out for adventure and disconnect for a time, which is what friends hope happened.
"He moves around a lot. I wouldn't say it's completely out of character," a friend said. "I've known him a little over a year. I met him in New York, then he was in Paris, then San Francisco, then Los Angeles, then he came back to New York."
Austin Taylor (Facebook)
"I'm worried about him because of the recent events," she said. "But I have a feeling he may have just disconnected that he doesn't even know what's going on."
But Billy Taylor said this is an extreme situation that's given cause for concern.
Police said Taylor has no history of mental illness and has not done anything like this before.
His father said that while Taylor has recently begun to express interest in meditation and that his son has gone on at least one retreat to Upstate New York, he doesn't believe that's what has happened this time.
"I guess it's a possibility, but I don't know. I really don't know. I would be surprised if he's at some kind of retreat in Paris or France and he's just not contacting anybody. I guess it could happen, but I would be surprised if that was the case," Billy Taylor told IE.
Authorities have told the family that if Taylor comes back to the U.S., they will be alerted.
"If he comes back to the States, they have flagged his passport. He definitely isn't back in the States," Billy Taylor said.
Until then, it's not clear how long they will need to wait for answers.
"I don't really understand why he won't contact us," the father told IE. "He has no reason not to contact us. Not that he hasn't traveled before, he's just never completely dropped off the grid, not using his bank account, not using his phone and not getting ahold of us at all, when I'm sure he has to know what's going on."