Family continues search 3 years after Carla Valpeoz disappeared in Peru

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 17:31:27-05

(WXYZ) — Thirty-seven months - three years - since anyone saw Carla Valpeoz alive.

She went to Peru for a wedding and adventure as her eyesight was fading.

Now, her family still hoping for her to be found and brought home and pushing the U.S. government to do more.

“Carla was a very loving person. She was an adventurer of the world; she was a student of the world. She devoted her life to helping everybody that she came in touch with,” said brother Carlos Valpeoz.

Many news reports surfaced from local Detroit stations to national.

“A legally blind Detroit woman is missing in Peru,” said ABC News Correspondent Janai Norman.

“A desperate search and investigation to find her happening right now,” as reported by WXYZ’s Dave LewAllen.

It’s now been more than 3 years since Carla Valpeoz’s family has been looking for her and answers:

“There was a video that surfaced in Pisac, that's the last known video footage that we have of my sister on the morning of December 12th,” said Valpeoz.

In life, Carla lived independently.

A tour guide at Dearborn’s Arab American Museum. An English as a second language tutor. An author.

She had visited roughly 20 countries by herself, trying to fit in as much before her degenerative disease stole her vision completely.

Including Machu Pichu in Peru while in the country for a wedding.

She went to Pisac to visit the Sacred Valley.

Her brother says Peruvian Police have haphazardly worked off 2 theories; she had an accident at the archeological park that was covered up or the one he believes.

“What do you believe the motive would be for her abduction and murder?” asked WXYZ’s Brian Abel.

“I think that it comes from a very basic level, I think that. There was an opportunist that came across my sister the morning of December 12th, and he wanted to either sexually assault her and and rob her, and things went wrong. And I do believe that she is buried in the mountains of the sacred valley and in Peru,” said Valpeoz.

Carlos says his and his father’s own investigation has offered clues, but they have come without much assistance from the United States.

Looking at a case like recently in the United States with Gabby Petito, it is very unfortunate what happened to her and to her family. But before there was even before she was even found, the FBI had already opened up a case and there were about 16 different agencies that were allocated to finding her killer in Florida. We have not had the same amount of interagency help in the United States.

“It shouldn't make a difference if an American citizen goes missing in another country. She's still an American citizen,” said Valpeoz.

“What needs to happen next, in your eyes?” Abel asked.

“The FBI needs to open an international cooperation case. The authorities in Peru need to accept help from the U.S. government,” said Valpeoz. "I don't think that I will ever see my sister again. My family and I have had to deal with that on a very personal level, and it's been very, very difficult. However, we're not giving up. We’re doing everything in our power to bring her home regardless of what state she's in. And eventually, we are going to pursue justice.”

We reached out to the FBI in Detroit on why the agency hasn’t opened an international cooperation case.

We were referred to the Miami field office that handles extra-territorial cases in that region of the world. We did not receive a response.

A US State Department official says:

The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We are aware of a U.S. citizen missing in Peru. We are in touch with local authorities on their search efforts and remain in close communication with the family.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation, but due to privacy considerations, are not going to go into specifics at this time.