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Rutland Student Still Missing In Haiti

This article is more than 10 years old.
In this Jan. 11 photograph released by Lynn University, students with the “Journey for Hope” group from the school pose in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Britney Gengel is seated second from right. She remains missing after the university received false word that she had been found alive. (Via AP)
In this Jan. 11 photograph released by Lynn University, students with the “Journey for Hope” group from the school pose in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Britney Gengel is seated second from right. She remains missing after the university received false word that she had been found alive. (Via AP)

A Rutland man is demanding more U.S. help in finding his daughter, a college student who has been missing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for six days. The family had received a false report that she had been found alive.

Britney Gengel, a sophomore at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., was staying with classmates at the Hotel Montana in the capital. On Tuesday afternoon, classmates said, she went to her room for a nap. Then the earthquake hit.

"As parents and children of people that are buried in that rubble, we need troops at that hotel," said Leonard Gengel on NBC's "Today" show Monday.

"I have pleaded. ... Please get the troops to the Hotel Montana. ... This is a living nightmare and we need government intervention. The United States of America needs to get to the Hotel Montana and get our children now."

Gengel, 19, is among 12 students and two faculty members in Haiti for a service project with Food for the Poor, a nonprofit organization that helps poor people in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Classmates said Gengel was last seen about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday — about 30 minutes before the 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

Based on those reports, the subsequent rescue effort has focused on the hotel, said Lynn University spokesman Jason Hughes.

"We are fairly certain — as certain as you can be — that that is where they all were at the time of the earthquake, whether they were in their hotel rooms or not," Hughes said.

Hughes said seven of the eight students that have been found were outside at the time of the earthquake. One, he said, was inside the hotel but was able to get out.

"They all believe that based on discussions, the time of day, and their memories, that the other (still missing) students were in their hotel rooms at the time of the earthquake," Hughes said. "They also believe that our two faculty members were in the fitness center."

Since the erroneous Jan. 14 report, which the university called "bad intelligence" from a private contractor hired to find the students, good news has been scarce for Gengel's parents.

"We always have hope. We have no choice but to have hope," said Cheryl Ann Gengel, Britney's mother, on CBS' "The Early Show" Monday.

This program aired on January 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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