International Search on for Missing Oak Park Journalist

One of two American journalists believed to be missing in Lebanon is from the Chicago area and a graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin.

U.S. Embassy officials said the journalists were vacationing in Lebanon and haven't been heard from since Oct. 1. An embassy statement noted that 27-year-old Holli Chmela and 23-year-old Taylor Luck reportedly left Beirut en route to the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli.

Luck, who speaks Arabic, and Chmela were traveling through Lebanon when the State Department warned of an increased risk to Americans. Officials said Wednesday that there was no confirmation the two ever left Lebanon.

A spokesman for Beloit College says Luck graduated last year. He was an international relations major who also studied Arabic and spent a semester in Jordan. The college awarded him a grant to return to Jordan for study.

The two American journalists were last seen at the Mozart Hotel in Beirut, NBC Chicago has learned.

The U.S. Embassy and Lebanese Internal Security Forces were looking for Luck, who is an editor at the Jordan Times, and Chmela, who is a freelancer. Both were reportedly vacationing in Lebanon when they disappeared.

The editor of the Jordan Times, Sameer Barhoum, released a statement that said, "We are hoping that both are safe and are looking forward to seeing them soon."

Luck is a 2003 graduate of Oak Park River Forest High School, while Chmela is a native of Washington, D.C.

Luck has been with the Jordan Times, which is an English Language newspaper, for the past 18 months.

The families and the embassy called for help from anyone with information on Luck and Chmela's whereabouts.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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