The family of Kenny DeLand Jr., the college student who was reported missing last month while studying abroad in France, is expressing their gratitude after he was found safe and re-connected with loved ones.
In a statement released on Tuesday — days after DeLand reunited with his mother in France — his family said they’re focusing on healing and togetherness.
“What Kenny went through while he was missing is still a blur, and we, as a family, continue to be with Kenny while he heals and processes,” they wrote, according to WROC-TV.
They also expressed gratitude for all “the love and support we received while Kenny was missing.”
“Kenny is a joy to many — his family, friends, colleagues, students, parents, and everyone who knows him,” they continued in the statement. “We appreciate all the expressions of love and concern we have received. We are grateful beyond measure to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement for their tireless efforts to find Kenny and bring him home.”
DeLand Sr. was being interviewed on Friday when he received a call from his son, a senior at St. John Fisher University.
“He is alive — that’s all I can say,” Ken DeLand Sr., told us before hanging up.
In an update on a website they created to help find him, his family shared that the student’s mom was already in France, “preparing to see Kenny and hopefully bring him home for Christmas.”
Although many details about what happened have yet to be made public, the family shared that widespread news coverage played a role in the reunion.
“Without the media’s help, Kenny would not have seen himself in the news and reached out to us,” they wrote.
Prior to the phone call last week, DeLand’s family had not heard from him since Nov. 27.
Before he went missing, the student was in “constant communication” with his family during his time at the University Grenoble Alpes, his father had previously told ABC News. “He would reach out to me almost daily, sometimes every other day,” he told the outlet.
An investigation was opened by authorities in Grenoble after students made a report on Nov. 29, according to a statement previously obtained by PEOPLE. Authorities said at the time that he appeared to have left voluntarily.
After connecting with his son last week, DeLand Sr. said “the whole situation felt surreal.”
“Now it’s finally, last chapter,” he added. On Saturday, Grenoble public prosecutor Eric Vaillant confirmed on social media that DeLand and his mother were set to return to the United States. Keep following us in this https://chubbyparade.com/‘s article to know new information about international student.