Can President Trump Rescue a U.S. Missionary Lost in Africa, Four Years After He Was Presumed Dead?

Jerry Krause
Jerry Krause (L) disappeared in April 2013 when flying a plane from South Africa to Mali. Krause Family/Facebook

In April 2013, a U.S. missionary named Jerry Krause went missing after setting out on a flight from South Africa to the West African country of Mali.

After two months without contact from the missionary, South African authorities determined that Krause had crashed and died, a conclusion his family seemed bound to accept.

But four years after his disappearance, the Krause family say they have received new information that suggests Krause is alive somewhere in Africa. And they are appealing to President Trump and his administration to bring the U.S. citizen home.

Krause’s family claimed in a recent Facebook post that the Minnesota native had been seen alive and that U.S. officials are aware of his location.

Jessica Krause, the missionary’s youngest daughter, who is based in Indianapolis, told Minnesota television station WCCO that her family had been told by sources within the Pentagon and Department of Defense that they required presidential approval in order to initiate any rescue operation. The family are now running a public campaign to put pressure on the administration to find and bring Krause back.

“We’re ready. We’re tired. It’s just been a long time,” said Jessica Krause, according to WCCO.

Read more: Mystery SOS message in Australian outback sparks rescue mission

Krause had worked in Mali with his wife Gina since 1996, first as a pilot for Mission Aviation Fellowship, a religious group that flies aid to people in need, and then as the director of a for-profit aviation company.

On April 7, 2013, Krause took off for a flight from South Africa back to Mali. His last communication with the control tower came from São Tomé, a tiny island off the West African coast where he had stopped to refuel.

Searches conducted following Krause’s disappearance found no debris that suggested a crash. But after two months, the South African Civil Aviation Authority said in a report that Krause had crashed and died.

The family claims, however, that South African authorities removed their report from the public record after telling the family that new evidence had come to light.

The Krause family has not been able to see this evidence and is now lobbying U.S. lawmakers to intervene. The family believes that Krause has been kidnapped, but no group has claimed responsibility for holding him.

Newsweek contacted the South African Civil Aviation Authority and the U.S. Department of Defense for comment on Krause, but received no immediate reply from either body.

Jessica Krause said that they had launched a social media campaign in order to raise awareness of her father’s plight. “We decided that we should really get something going here to get my dad back,” she told WCCO.