Patricia Murad, missing in Japan, is believed to have been last seen wearing this jacket Photo: Hartford Courant
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Connecticut woman missing since April 10 after going on hiking pilgrimage in Japan

49 Comments
By Pamela McLoughlin, Hartford Courant

U.S. Sen Richard Blumenthal has contacted the State Department and the White House to assist in finding a Storrs, Connecticut woman who has gone missing during a hiking pilgrimage in Japan.

Patricia Wu-Murad is a recent retiree, lifelong hiker, devoted mother of three and married for almost 33 years to career educator and longtime girl’s high school basketball coach, Kirk Murad. He is now a consultant for local school administrators.

Murad was last seen in the early morning of April 10, leaving a guesthouse for the next day leg of her journey, but never showed up as scheduled for the night’s destination. She was to do a 11.2-mile trek that day that takes about seven to nine hours, family members said.

Her family, who say they were notified by authorities, a few days later after they had conducted a failed search, recently arrived in Japan to meet with authorities in hopes they will agree to resume searching the mountainous region where they believe she was last trekking.

Meanwhile, in the last few days the family has hired private searchers – as they know time is of the essence – and established a GoFundMe page to help pay for the pricey search.

In a few days, as of Monday afternoon, the family had raised more than $88,000 of their $100,000 goal.

Blumenthal is aiding through his office and “praying,” he said.

“Having spoken to members of Pattie’s family, some now already in Japan, I am determined to seek every possible source of search and rescue to aid her,” he said. “I have contacted the State Department and the White House to assist and will continue helping the Murad family through every avenue available. I am deeply concerned and am praying for Pattie’s safe return to her family.”

Wu-Murad is wouldn’t have run into any problems on the trek unless there was an unexpected event such as a mudslide or avalanche, her sister-in-law and family spokesperson Julie Murad-Caruso said.

Kirk Murad, reached by text as he was flying to Japan Sunday night, said, “Friends and family have shown tremendous love and support, which is of needed comfort during this nightmare.

“Pattie has been my best friend since 1986. We married in 1990. I want to celebrate our 33rd anniversary next month with her and both our families,” Murad wrote.

He said the police in Japan stopped searching after three days and didn’t notify the consulate in Japan that his wife was missing until early Friday morning.

“I tried to find her location after calling and texting her, but her battery had already died by that point,” Kirk Murad told the Courant by text.

Kirk Murad said the phone company was contacted but does not keep last known location information.

Daughter Murphy Murad wrote in a GoFundMe update recently that her mom planned to be in Osaka on April 13 and 14. She was supposed to meet up with a couple close to the family in Ryozen-ji Temples on April 16.

“Our family friends went to the location hoping she would show up but after waiting for a few hours, walking around both temples, and showing Pattie’s picture around, they came out empty handed.”

Pattie Murad is a graduate of the UConn School of Business and a recent retiree of United Technologies, a family member said.

“She’s touched so many lives,” and tells it like it is, Murad-Caruso said said of her sister-in-law, who moved with her family to the United States from Taiwan as a youngster. “She has a strong work ethic, she’s focused, extremely intelligent and she loves to bake for her family.”

She said her sister-in-law left for her pilgrimage in March and was several weeks in.

Family members said searching in the mountainous region is expensive, as a private search and rescue mountain crew was about $10,000 plus about another $5,000 to fly them to Osaka, hiring a helicopter for aerial search at $1,600 per hour.

In an updated GoFundMe post Monday, daughter Murphy Murad gave an update.

“My family and I have gathered that she was following the Kohechi route of the Kumano Kodo trail, traveling north to south,” Murphy wrote.

Murphy wrote that when her mom checked out of the Mandokoro guesthouse at about 7 a.m. April 10, the employee remembers her wearing a brownish red jacket with a camera in her hands.

They called police to report Pattie Murad had not shown up at that night’s guesthouse.

Anyone with suggestions can email: HelpfindPattie@gmail.com/

© Hartford Courant

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

49 Comments
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Strange that this article doesn't mention where she disappeared.

Nor her destination or the name or location of the guesthouse where she was staying.

Did she leave her belongings in the guesthouse?

Did the manager notify local police?

RE;

Murad was last seen in the early morning of April 10, leaving a guesthouse for the next day leg of her journey, but never showed up as scheduled for the night’s destination. She was to do a 11.2-mile trek that day that takes about seven to nine hours

Her family, who say they were notified by authorities

29 ( +30 / -1 )

Good luck! I hope she turns up safely.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

There sure seems to be a bunch of missing information about how the police got involved in the first place, and this;

He said the police in Japan stopped searching after three days and didn’t notify the consulate in Japan that his wife was missing until early Friday morning.

Where does it state that the police were contacted and when, regarding a missing person? There are some leaps of the imagination here, and when did it become the responsibility of the police to contact any embassy or consulate officials?

In cases like these, to avoid misinformation being spread, it would behoove the writer/author to get their story straight and complete.

Its a jumble of information and poorly written!

Her family, who say they were notified by authorities, a few days later after they had conducted a failed search, recently arrived in Japan to meet with authorities in hopes they will agree to resume searching the mountainous region where they believe she was last trekking.

Who contacted the authorities? Why was the family notified "days later"? Who searched what and where?

Biggest thing outside of this woman being missing is the "Go Fund Me" fundraising!

18 ( +19 / -1 )

I guess the details are left out because readers of the Hartford Courant probably don't even know the difference between Taiwan and Japan, let alone the location of small places in Japan.

-10 ( +14 / -24 )

I know this is going to get downvoted, but why does it seem that every time there is any kind of event like this immediately a Gofundme page is set up. In certain instances I can understand, but I almost feel like it is taking advantage of a tragic situation.

2 ( +17 / -15 )

that she was following the Kohechi route of the Kumano Kodo trail, traveling north to south

I am not familiar with that area. Which prefecture is it ?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

He said the police in Japan stopped searching after three days and didn’t notify the consulate in Japan that his wife was missing until early Friday morning.

The police I see are usually just patrolling mechanically or sitting in their kobans

Why give up so easily?

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

The most strange thing is, no one is asking for volunteers. They just hire a professional search company. Something is off.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

This is a link of the location:

https://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/kumano-kodo/kohechi/

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Didou - the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Pref. More information: https://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/kumano-kodo/kohechi/

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"Kohechi connects Kumano with Koyasan. This mountaintop route is long and challenging, and consequently should not be undertaken without careful preparation. Inns are rarely found without zigzagging up and down the mountainsides into valley towns, greatly increasing the distance traveled. Kohechi was used mainly by Buddhist monks from the temple complex of Mount Koya." ...quoted from japan-guide.com

She's prolly staying in Koya san (Wakayama) heading to Kumano Hongu Taisha...Kumano Kodo is between Wakayama, Nara and Mie...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Thanks for your answers regarding the location

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He said the police in Japan stopped searching after three days and didn’t notify the consulate in Japan that his wife was missing until early Friday morning.

The police I see are usually just patrolling mechanically or sitting in their kobans

Why give up so easily?

mate- the cops here are glorified salarymen in uniform. Don't expect much from them. AND she's not Japanese.

-8 ( +14 / -22 )

With friends like that...

He said the police in Japan stopped searching after three days and didn’t notify the consulate in Japan that his wife was missing until early Friday morning.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

There have been a number of female tourists who have been killed or disappeared while sightseeing in Japan. Lindsey Hawker was found dead; and Tiphaine Veron has never been found.

The likely explanation is that they were targeted by someone who saw them out walking alone and took advantage of the fact that it would be a long time before they were missed, and the knoweldge that the police don't like to investigate these cases because it makes Japan look bad.

In the case of Tiphaine Veron, the police have refused to search more, and have put forth the ludicrous explanation that she fell into a river, despite evidence to the contrary that she was accosted near her hostel - they found her shoe and her handkerchief.

I really hope this case turns out to be a matter of just getting lost, and I really hope that the searchers find her safe and sound. But at the same time, women who come to Japan alone really should not trust the narrative that Japan is a safe country - no country is completely safe, and if you disappear in Japan, the police really won't do much. In general, missing person cases are treated as if the adult ran away. They only act if they find substantial evidence of foul play, such as blood.

-21 ( +13 / -34 )

No location information. Maybe Shikoku?

this article reads like an advertisement for go fund me, which takes a 5-10% commission on monies raised.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Agree with the above posters that information in the article is severely lacking and confusing. From where to where, a map of the area, link to a map, anything. Who contacted police? Why would anyone think police would contact any embassy? They wouldn’t, in any country. If the search is deemed too risky, it is called off. Again no difference to any other country.

It was her job to let friends and family know where she was and when to expect the next contact. Also recommended is to file your hiking plan if you go off-season or trails that are not so commonly used.

Even the most experienced hikers and climbers have accidents. Uli Steck fell off Everest when taking a pee, etc. It can happen without any foul play.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Why people are to lazy to search her name.

You will get more information if you search.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.insider.com/missing-hiker-patricia-wu-murad-japan-family-search-2023-4%3famp?bshm=foot/2

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

I've been following on FB.

A cut and paste from there. I hope this is appropriate. Some background info that may help in the search.

Of course her family / friends are extremely worried.

Hello all,here is an update from my niece. Thank you for reaching out and being on the lookout along with sharing your insight on the trails.

Here is the latest info on Pattie. Please continue to pray for her and her family.

Update 4/17

by Murphy Murad -daughter

My family and I have gathered that she was following the Kohechi route of the Kumano Kodo trail, traveling north to south.

Pattie was last seen on April 10th checking out of the Mandokoro guesthouse at about 7am. The employee remembers her wearing a “brownish red jacket with a camera in her hands.” I have included a photo of her wearing the jacket we believe he was referring to.

She had reserved a stay at the Taiyo-no-yu guesthouse the night of April 10th. The part of the trail between these two particular guesthouses is called the Miura-toge Pass. It is approximately a 18km (11.2 mi) trek that takes about 7-9 hours according to the Kumano Tourism Bureau. Given her departure time and length of route, it was estimated she should have arrived between 4-5pm. At approximately 8:15pm the host of the guesthouse reported to the local police that Pattie had not shown up.

As previously noted, local police conducted a 72 hr search from April 11-13 with 26 officers and helicopters but were unable to find any leads. They were reluctant to restart the search because they did not have any leads and have “limited resources over the weekends”.

Pattie planned to be in Osaka on April 13th and 14th. She was also supposed to meet up with a couple close to the family in Ryozen-ji Temples on April 16. Our family friends went to the location hoping she would show up but after waiting for a few hours, walking around both temples, and showing Pattie’s picture around, they came out empty handed.

My father, myself, and another family friend (Japanese native) plan on visiting the Gojo Police department tomorrow, April 18 to get more information and urge them to utilize their resources to help us continue with our search. After this we plan on going to Taiyo-no-yu for a few nights with a local guide and translator. We hope to interview both guesthouses, get in touch with the local branch where the call was made, and stop at major checkpoints/sites where people may have seen Pattie.

Our private search and rescue team was deployed early morning on April 16 and have so far come up empty but will be continuing their efforts. The past 48 hours they have searched areas where individuals are more likely to get lost, fall from heights, or get swept up by the nearby river. At this point the private search and rescue team believe, “that a very irregular situation occurred on April 10”.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Hope they find her safe and sound, but I don't think they will after this long since she was a regular hiker. I can see if she got lost, but it wouldn't take this long to find her way somewhere and get in touch with people. So, I'm thinking she was either injured and unable to get help (and likely succumbed to her injuries and the elements), or there is foul play involved. Would love to be wrong, though.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Damn shame! Hope they find her.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This article would've been a lot more helpful if it had information about where they're exactly talking about here. It's a poorly written news article if posters here have to add links for more information that is the central to this report.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

These kinds of hiking disappearances happen more than people care to admit. The famous British actor, Julian Sands, has been missing since January after going hiking in California. If you get into trouble, being alone isn't great.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I know this is going to get downvoted, but why does it seem that every time there is any kind of event like this immediately a Gofundme page is set up. In certain instances I can understand, but I almost feel like it is taking advantage of a tragic situation.

It seems you dont have your own family so its really hard to understand so many things, I've been there.

One day you will know the anxiety of having a son/daughter/wife lost for even a couple of hours.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Here's a bit more information

I believe she started at the Mandoroko Minshuku here 〒637-1224 Nara, Yoshino District, Totsukawa, Imoze, 101 五百

And was aiming to get to Taiyo no yu onsen 行者民宿 太陽の湯 here 〒637-1554 Nara, Yoshino District, Totsukawa, Hiradani, 693 行者民宿 十津川温泉 太陽の湯

11 ( +11 / -0 )

There have been a number of female tourists who have been killed or disappeared while sightseeing in Japan. Lindsey Hawker was found dead; and Tiphaine Veron has never been found.

The likely explanation is that they were targeted by someone who saw them out walking alone and took advantage of the fact that it would be a long time before they were missed, and the knoweldge that the police don't like to investigate these cases because it makes Japan look bad.

In Hawker's case she was indeed the victim of a male predator, but in Veron's case we don't know and its equally possible that some unfortunate accident like falling into a river occurred.

In Wu-Murad's case its hard to even speculate since the article gives us so little information on where she actually went missing. If she was hiking in the mountains, which is what the article heavily implies, then there are a lot of more likely explanations for her disappearance than foul play.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I know this is going to get downvoted, but why does it seem that every time there is any kind of event like this immediately a Gofundme page is set up. In certain instances I can understand, but I almost feel like it is taking advantage of a tragic situation.

How is this in any way taking advantage of people? The article clearly identifies expenses that this family is incurring as a result of the search. They are retired teachers so probably don't have enough to pay those expenses on their own. The incident itself is potentially tragic and worthy of sympathy. Asking for help to pay for this seems perfectly reasonable to me.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Always sad when someone sets out to do something fun and positive and it turns out like this. She'd probably been planning and looking forward to this trip for years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I was out camping fairly close to that area that weekend and we got some snow and rain. It was a miserable and dangerous weekend to go out on the trail. Lots of rain and rivers were overflowing.

I hope she is OK.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Is 11.2 miles a long way? What's that in proper measurement?

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

great post by Browny, made the whole story much clearer.

Hiking alone comes with risks, even for the experienced. Let’s hope she just got lost and they will find her soon

7 ( +7 / -0 )

MarkXToday  07:27 am JST

I know this is going to get downvoted, but why does it seem that every time there is any kind of event like this immediately a Gofundme page is set up. In certain instances I can understand, but I almost feel like it is taking advantage of a tragic situation.

It’s going to get downvoted because it’s insensitive and lacks a comprehension of the family’s reality. Flights to and from Japan, hotel rooms, food, transportation within Japan, translation services, possible detective services and so on. How much do you think that’s going to cost and how many rich, American teachers do you know?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

People take such useless risk they die.

I am athletic, father of 3 and still young and would not ever go hitch hiking alone on a trek with risks ina foreign country, knowing you can die easily just because of a little fall making you badly handicaped in a mountainous area, ie with fast changing weather conditions.

Strange that the gofund page was even needed...but time is indeed the essence.

Wish she has survival instincts and that we can read soon she got located.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wish I could help.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A few years ago in Mobara, Chba, a 17yrs old girl was missing for 2 weeks. The police searched for her and couldn't find her. She was found in a shrine like 2km from her home.

The Japanese police are great at getting confessions, most of the times coerced or forced, but lack the most rudimentary police skills. They fouled up the Aum case and they can't even provide basic security for politicians. In this case, they gave up after 3 days and didn't even notify the embassy that she was missing until four days after.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Just read about this on international news, after so much time the worst is likely, but miracles do happen sometimes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That she is "not Japanese" or somehow is connected to past missing gaijin women is irrelevant. Any person, Japanese or otherwise, would not immediately know she is not Japanese from looking at her.

The probabilty of an accident is at present, higher than that of foul play.

A 7-9 hour trek is a very long hike on a trail that one is not use to and travelling alone. Especially in a foreign country.

An extra battery for her Cell phone and/or a personal GPS transponder ($50-$200) would have been a smart thing to bring along. I am assuming she had neither.

Hoping she is found as soon as possible.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Strange that no one has suggested bears. Bear attacks are not common, but there are lots of them out there, and if females have cubs now, it could be a bit dangerous walking through deep forest, especially alone. The reason many hikers wear those noisy bells on their legs is to warn off bears especially, so Japanese hikers are generally aware of the risk.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hiking buddy

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyone else found it odd that there's no mention of her age in this article? She's a retiree and a professional who's been married for 33 years so she's probably in her 60s. She looks healthy and fit from the photo, but no matter how experienced a hiker she is, a woman of her age hiking trails of this difficulty alone was ill advised. All the same, I hope she's found alive and well but I would say the odds are against it at this point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are probably a few thousand 70 year old local woman who know that trail well and I'm sure they would be happy to volunteer to help look for her while on their daily constitutionals.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

After all these comments, Foxy hit the nail on the head, there are plenty of critters out there looking for food, if you’re somehow injured, you’re going to be dinner.

Hopefully I’m wrong, but it seems very likely. The woods are THEIR home, not yours.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

After all these comments, Foxy hit the nail on the head, there are plenty of critters out there looking for food, if you’re somehow injured, you’re going to be dinner.

Hopefully I’m wrong, but it seems very likely. The woods are THEIR home, not yours.

The other possibility is that maybe she came to hike alone to reach the other side on her own terms.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The woman, Patricia Wu-Murad remains undiscovered.

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/family-of-woman-missing-on-japan-hiking-trail-joins-search-and-rescue-efforts

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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