The Search For Gimelfarb Hits Week Two

Doctoral student missing for two weeks

It’s been exactly two weeks since Chicago doctoral student David Gimelfarb mysteriously disappeared into the Costa Rican jungle, but friends and family haven’t given up hope for his return.

In fact, most of his friends and family are actively participating in his rescue from afar.

Nearly 1,100 people have visited a Facebook page dedicated to the Gimelfarb search helping to raise money, share research and pressure U.S. officials to get involved in the effort.

"Please badger your [senators] and [representatives]," one post read. "Phone calls, e-mails, faxes. Don't let up on them until the Embassy takes action -- it is the only way these political appointees will move."

Their efforts are paying off, at least in inspiring action.

After much prodding, the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica sent military helicopters with infrared sensors into the dense forested region of Rincon de la Vieja national park in northern Costa Rica where Gimelfarb’s abandoned SUV was discovered.

Many are attributing the action to the social media push.

"There are so many people that it becomes like a critical mass, and decision-makers find it hard to resist," said Roger Hyde, multimedia manager for London-based ResQglobal, a private search-and-rescue operation now involved in the hunt for Gimelfarb, told the Chicago Tribune. "I don't know that we would have been made aware of it had it not been for Facebook. Without social media, none of this would have happened."

Friends of Gimelfarb are staging a more traditional media push this afternoon. They’re holding a traveling vigil in downtown Chicago.

A group of supporters gathered outside ABC studios on State Street at 11 am to get noticed on their broadcast and then marched toward Daley Plaza on Washington Street.

“The purpose of this event is not to protest but to make others aware of David’s situation and hopefully influence officials to continue support of the search and rescue mission,” organizer Chris Shaw wrote in his message.  “The media will be invited to attend the event. Participants are encouraged to make and carry signs that explain why David is important to them or how he has touched their life. I also hope that this event will allow those who care for David to come together and share stores during this difficult time.”

For those interested in joining the effort, visit the Help Find David Gimealfarb Facebook page.

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