American chemistry tutor living in Hong Kong missing for six weeks after leaving for Slovenia
Just before his disappearance, Jonathan Reid Luskin told flatmate he was going to hike in Triglav National Park
A 25-year-old American teaching in Hong Kong has been missing for six weeks since he left Austria for Slovenia after a family holiday, according to his friends and relatives.
Jonathan Reid Luskin, a chemistry tutor at the ITS education centre, is due to return to Hong Kong on Saturday from his summer trip, which began on June 11. Over the past two weeks, however, various attempts by American and Slovenian authorities to locate him have met with little success.
Luskin was last seen by his mother, Susan Stone, on the morning of June 22 in Vienna, when he left their accommodation to catch a train to Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital.
That evening, Luskin told his flatmate in Hong Kong via instant message on WhatsApp that he had arrived in the eastern European country and planned to hike in Triglav National Park over the following two days. The park is an 838 sq km protected natural area centred around Slovenia’s highest peak, Mount Triglav, about an hour’s drive northwest from downtown Ljubljana.
In his last voice message to his flatmate – who declined to be named – at 12.04am on June 23, Hong Kong time (6.04pm on June 22, Slovenian time), Luskin said: “I am going to be hiking basically all this weekend, hiking out to this national park in Slovenia … I need to make sure I am going to have data because getting a functioning SIM card has been an ordeal. But if you want to call me up on WhatsApp, it should be free most of the time.”
An exchange between the two friends in the early morning of June 23 (Hong Kong time) showed that Luskin had been “peeved” after failing to get a proper SIM card after at least two attempts.
“I’m gonna pick one up when I get to Croatia in two days,” Luskin wrote.
The flatmate said the last WhatsApp response from Luskin was sent at 5.13am on June 23 (Hong Kong time), and the last message registered as received by Luskin from his flatmate was at 2.56pm.
He also told the Post that Luskin did not have hiking equipment with him. The tutor was wearing a shirt, a hoodie, a pair of jeans, hiking shoes and glasses when he was last seen.
“He wasn’t a mountaineer,” the flatmate said, adding that Luskin was “as experienced as average Hong Kong expats” when it came to hiking.
Luskin’s friends and family members said he had planned to continue on to Croatia, Greece and Japan after Slovenia and before returning to Hong Kong on Saturday ahead of the coming academic year.
Stone, Luskin’s mother, decided to report him missing to the US government and its embassies in Slovenia, Croatia and Greece on July 20. Slovenian police were informed five days later, according to ABC News.
“Last I heard, [the Slovenian police] were chasing up leads on hostels he may have stayed at … They haven’t started a search in the park yet,” Luskin’s flatmate told the Post on Friday.
“It is not presently known which route or trail Jontook through Triglav National Park, whether he was hiking alone or with others, which entrance to the national park Jon entered through or if he intended to stay in the park overnight in a park hut or simply complete day hikes through the park,” Luskin’s family and friends wrote in their latest statement on August 1.
Originally from Wisconsin, Luskin has been living in Hong Kong for about three years.
He is 183cm tall and weighs 82kg, with hazel eyes. Luskin was in good physical and mental health when he was last seen.
Holding a bachelor’s degree with high honours in chemistry from Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, he is known to his friends as an avid reader and hiker who would bring an iPad or a Kindle along so that he could read on a mountain.
A US State Department official said: “The US Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater responsibility than the protection of US citizens overseas.”
The official added that the government was working “closely with local authorities” but declined to provide further details.