A visually impaired Michigan woman who wants to see the world before completely losing her eyesight has gone missing while in Peru, her family said.
Carla Valpeoz, 35, of Detroit, was last seen at the Pariwana Hostel in Cusco last week, her brother, Carlos Valpeoz, said on Facebook.
She had reportedly traveled to Peru to attend a friend’s wedding, and then decided to explore the country on her own. Valpeoz celebrated her birthday there on Dec. 8, and the day before she vanished, she had climbed the highest peak of Machu Picchu.
“We love you Carla,” Carlos Valpeoz wrote. “We will find you. Please come back to us!”
Valpeoz sent a message through WhatsApp to an Argentinian man she had met while climbing Machu Picchu about 10 a.m. last Wednesday saying she was going to see some sights and asked if he was interested in going to a museum later that day, her brother told ABC News.
That was apparently the last anyone heard from her, he said.
The U.S. State Department told ABC News they were aware of reports of an American citizen missing in Peru. “When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts,” a spokesperson said.
"The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater responsibility than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas. Due to privacy concerns, we have no further comment."
The Valpeoz family said police told them they have obtained security footage of Carla getting into a taxi Wednesday morning and believe she went to a transportation hub, where she could’ve caught a bus or shuttle to go sightseeing.
She was scheduled to meet a friend at the Lima airport Saturday to fly back to Michigan together, and when she did not show up, the friend reported her missing.
An avid solo traveler, there’s no way Valpeoz would go as long as she has without contacting someone unless there was a problem, her brother said.
"She's missed a couple of flights here and there and had to reschedule," her brother said, noting Valpeoz has gone on trips alone to Yemen, Egypt and other countries in South America. "She's gotten turned around a little bit. But the thing that's extremely out of character about this situation is the fact that she has made absolutely no contact with her friends."
When she was 10, Valpeoz was diagnosed with optic nerve atrophy. She has been going blind ever since. She works as an advocate for the visually impaired and wrote the travel book “Visionless Adventures.”
“My adventurous spirit challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, giving me the opportunity to live among different cultures and communities," she said in a video she posted to YouTube. "I want to create a platform and I want to bridge communities of cultures and carry out workshops so that we can learn to work together."