eBuzz: Nightmare in South America: Jackson woman abducted, assaulted and robbed

By on January 3, 2013
Jennifer Wolfrom

Jennifer Wolfrom – (Facebook)

 

JACKSON HOLE, WYO –
UPDATED:

In her words: Victim speaks out, answers critics

This story presents some unique constraints for a journalist. As some have noted, it is obviously a one-sided piece. JH Weekly does not have the resources, money, or fluency in the language to contact Peruvian Policia or the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. In light of the skeptics blogging in on the story, JH Weekly contacted Jennifer Wolfrom and asked her some follow up questions.

JH Weekly: Could you please reaffirm some facts in the events that you experienced for us? There have been some criticizing your story.

Jenny Wolfrom: If I was reading this story I would have been extremely skeptical as well. It sounds fake but, unfortunately for the three of us, it was not.

JHW: Were you at all arrogant about denying initial requests to see paperwork? Or did you simply withhold documentation because these villagers were not police and you didn’t want to get “taken?”

Jenny: We were not arrogant about not giving them our documents. We explained to them that we don´t show nonofficial police our documents. It is a well-known rule of travel that you do not just pass your documents around to just anyone. Had the police been there, we would have immediately shown any documentation that we had with us.

JHW: Did you deploy pepper spray only as a last resort after villagers got rough with you, or could you have doused them earlier and that made them angry?

Jenny: As stated in my account, we sprayed the pepper spray after we had been attacked with rocks and forced to crash the truck. I had already been hit in the face with a large rock and my brother Jed had also already been hit. We sprayed the bear mace once we started running from the truck in an attempt to gain some space between us and the 20 to 30 people throwing rocks at our heads. I think that can be classified as self-defense.

JHW: Violence like this in that region would probably be considered very rare. Like you stated, your brother and sister-in-law have been traveling for six months in South America with no problem. It’s hard to understand why these locals would attack you. I assume you and your brother and Meg know how to conduct yourselves in rural areas of a foreign country – not to make flashy appearances, etc?

Jenny: We are not flashy people and we had just come from a four-day backpacking trip. We were basically in jeans and hiking boots. The truck that Meghan and Jed drive is a 1998 Tacoma with many dents, holes, and a lot of rust. Not something you would typically look at and translate into wealth.

Meg and Jed are very sensitive to other cultures while traveling. The whole point of this trip for them was to see how other people live in the world and learn about other countries and cultures. Of course there was some surfing and climbing mixed in with that. I never felt unsafe while traveling with them and I hold firm to my belief that this was just a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ type of incident.

JHW: What did the Consulate or Embassy or local authorities tell you about the village? Is there a history of this sort of thing?

Jenny: We have heard different stories on the history of violence in this region. The tourism police told us this has happened before, but many other people have never heard of it. Since the incident, I have heard of unrest in this area, most of the anger being targeting toward larger government with foreigners being viewed as part of the problem.

JHW: Have you recovered any of your things?

Jenny: We have not gotten any possessions back. We made our formal statements to the Tourism Police and the Police of Ocongate (the region where the crime occurred) yesterday. There is an ongoing investigation and all of the help that we have had with people calling the embassy [Sen. Leland Christensen has been actively involved on the victims’ behalf] and their local representatives has been helping put pressure on the Peruvian police to take this case seriously.

JHW: Anything else we can help you with?

Jenny: Many people are criticizing us for the fund that was set up in our name saying that we did this for money. We did not ask for money from any of our friends. This was something that our loved ones did on their own because they felt helpless and wanted to do something. That letter that is going around is a letter that I wrote to a victim’s service support group to see if there were any government funds available for victims of international violence. Those that know us know that we are the type of people that rarely ask for help of any kind, whether monetary or otherwise. While we are amazed and truly grateful of the fund that was set up, it is in our nature to be uncomfortable with accepting that type of assistance from friends. People wanted to help us and this is one of the only ways they felt that they could.

We are so grateful for the help that people provided. Jed and Meg planned very carefully and are extremely conservative with their budget. An incident that will cost upwards of $30,000 is not something that you can specifically plan for.

. . .

Original story:

. . .

JH Weekly has learned that a local woman was recently the victim of a vicious attack while on holiday in Peru. Jennifer Wolfrom, 30, who has worked at the Jackson Hole Land Trust since August 2011, says she was attacked along with her brother, Jed, and his wife Meghan Doherty.

According to Wolfrom, the three travelers were assaulted in the village of Pallcca in the region of Ocongate, Peru near the city of Cusco and the famous Inca site Machu Picchu. They had attempted to truck camp for the night and were surrounded by villagers who demanded their documentation. The confrontation escalated to the point that the American travelers were pelted with rocks and at some point deployed pepper spray in their own defense.

Wolfrom, her brother and Doherty were held captive briefly and received serious injuries from the encounter but are currently alive and receiving medical treatment in Cusco. Wolfrom said the villagers took most all of her possessions as well as her companions’ belongings. Wolfrom is currently without her passport and credit cards and is working with the U.S. Consulate and Embassy, along with local police, to try and recover her possessions and get back to Jackson Hole.

There is currently no travel advisories in the area, nor is there a history of violence toward foreign travelers in the Ocongate Region. A full recount of the incident from Jennifer Wolfrom follows:

“My name is Jennifer Lynne Wolfrom. I am a US citizen, a resident of Jackson Hole in the state of Wyoming, currently visiting Cuzco, Peru and the surrounding areas. I am a victim of an act of extreme violence towards myself, my brother (Joseph Palmer Wolfrom III), and my sister-in-law (Meghan Moore Doherty). Joseph and Meghan have been driving for nine months from the United States through Central and South America, camping almost every night in their truck camper and have not yet experienced any violence or danger until this situation which occurred from December 29 to December 30, 2012. I flew into Cuzco, Peru on December 22, 2012 to meet my brother and his wife for a 10-day vacation. We stayed in Cuzco for a few days and then went into the mountains to hike a portion of the Asungate Mountain trek. We were in the mountains from December 25 to December 29.

“On December 29, 2012, we left the mountains to drive back to Cuzco and towards our next destination of Macchu Picchu. It was getting dark and we knew that driving in the dark was dangerous, so we pulled down a dirt road to camp in the camper on the back of their truck. We pulled into a flat spot near a bridge in the village of Pallcca in the region of Ocongate, Peru at about 6:30 PM. We were drinking two beers between the three of us because it was my 30th birthday and we were celebrating. We were almost immediately approached by two village residents, who were friendly and who we asked if it was ok to park and camp where we had. They said yes. Soon, the two men were blowing whistles and using their cell phones to alert their friends of our presence and many more village residents started gathering around us, including the man who they called the Presidente. We recognized that he was the leader of the community and Meghan asked him directly if we could camp there and he said ‘Yes.’ We were soon surrounded by indigenous village people who started asking us to give them our documents. We refused to show them our documents as they weren´t Policia and we were getting nervous about their pushiness and decided to leave. We told them we would leave and got into the truck. They wouldn´t let my brother shut his door and started picking up rocks. Joseph finally got his door shut and we drove off quickly in the opposite direction of where we came hoping that the road would lead us away.

“The road ended at a school about 10 minutes after we started driving. There was a man there and we asked him if we could camp and he said no, so we had to turn around and start driving back towards where we first encountered the mob. Soon we were approached by two motor bikes coming from the village and many people on foot. They started approaching the vehicle and we asked them if we could please leave. They said they would not let us leave and then started throwing rocks at the truck and building a rock blockade on the road in front of us. We drove over the first blockade and there were villagers up on the hill above the road continuing to throw rocks at the truck. They threw a large rock through the passenger window, breaking it and hitting me in the face and cutting my jaw. They also threw a rock through the driver’s side window, hitting my brother. We soon were met with another large road blockade of boulders that we could not drive through. At this blockade they threw rocks at the windshield and destroyed it. We veered off the road to try to drive around the blockade and got stuck in a huge ditch and could not drive anymore. We were being bombarded with rocks and had to escape from the vehicle. We had two cans of bear spray between the three of us so we used that in self-defense to be able to get out of the truck to start running from the village. We got out of the truck and started running and were immediately attacked by villagers who were throwing rocks at our heads and chasing us with blinding flashlights and sticks. It very much seemed like a planned organized attack with each of the villagers blowing whistles signaling other villagers to come out and join the chase. There were at least 30 people chasing us and throwing rocks at us at one point. We were running for our lives for between 30 minutes to an hour through the village hills and rivers. We were each struck multiple times by rocks in the head and all over our bodies. We eventually were surrounded by villagers who continued to beat us until they decided to bring us back to the Presidente of the village. We were forced to walk back to meet the Presidente where we pleaded with him to let us go. At this point we were all bleeding severely from our heads and Joseph´s front teeth were knocked out and his eye blundered shut by a rock. It was raining and freezing and my brother had lost a shoe running through a river. After a long discussion between the villagers and the presidente, he demanded that we be forced to walk about a mile in the freezing rain back up to the village school. We told them that we would just leave and they could have all of our stuff, but they would not let us leave. During that time I was beaten in the head with a large board, Meghan was kicked in her back extremely hard, and rocks continued to be thrown at us.

“At the village school we were initially surrounded by at least 40 of the men, women, and children of the village who all addressed the Presidente with their ideas of what they wanted to do with us. Many of the women and men were screaming that they wanted the village to kill us. We kept apologizing, pleading, and explaining ourselves in Spanish, but they would not listen and started to whip us with the ropes that they use to whip their animals. We were whipped and beaten for a few hours in between sessions of interrogation. They told us that we should have given them our documents, but we explained that typically we did not give non-official policia our documents. Many of the villagers were angry about us using the bear spray (mace), but we explained that it was self-defense and we only used it after being attacked with rocks and barricaded, forcing us to crash the truck. We told them we had been very scared when they attacked us in the truck with rocks and we apologized over and over for the miscommunication. During this time at the school we were forced to separate and they stripped us of our possessions on our persons which included my iPhone 5, my brother and sister-in-law´s driver´s licenses and debit cards. After a few hours of standing in the freezing rain, being whipped by villagers numerous times, and screamed at in their local language, we continued to plead for our lives, shivering and bleeding, and they eventually shut us inside the school. We again apologized and pleaded to leave without any of our belongings.

“After less than an hour of being shut in the school, we were again brought out to circle of villagers of over 33 people (I counted at least 33 people that I could see but there were many in the back ground- including young children). We immediately saw that there were at least three villagers that had at least three guns, one that we know was a 20 or 12 gauge shot gun. We tried to shield ourselves from the guns and again pleaded for them not to kill us. We were forced into the middle of the circle by men holding whips and we were held at gun point while again the villagers addressed the Presidente with their stories and ideas for our lives. At least one gunshot was shot towards us in the circle. The man with the 20 or 12 gauge shot gun seemed to be an unofficial police or security guard for the village. We told him our story and spent another few hours in the middle of the circle while they decided what to do with us. It was at this point that lights were shined on our injuries and the villagers could see the extent of their violent acts. There was more discussion between the villagers and we were whipped again, with my brother taking most of the beating while trying to protect us. This last portion of the village gathering was photographed and recorded by many of the villagers. They were shining bright lights in our eyes, blinding us and taking pictures of our bloody faces and bodies, and recording the conversations on their phones. After another period of conversation and pleading, we were led to a table where we saw that they had written up their version of a story that they wanted us to sign for the police. Their accident report, written in Spanish, essentially said that we had been drinking and crashed our car, which is how the car got destroyed and how we got our injuries. However, the extent of our injuries and the condition of the car far surpasses anything that could happen by driving into a grassy ditch. They also pulled out all of our legal documents that they had stolen from the car, showed us they had them, and then confiscated them again. They still possess these documents.

“We were convinced that the only way we would survive was to sign the report and assure the villagers that we would tell the police that it was a car accident that caused the damage to the truck and the injuries to our bodies. Once we convinced them that we would go along with their story, they had us sign the document and ink print our fingerprints. At around 5 am, after nearly 11 hours of being attacked, chased, beaten, whipped, and held at gun point without food, sleep, or water, we were led back to the truck. All of the windows and the windshield of the truck had been broken and the camper had been broken into and all of our belongings and documents were either stolen or thrown into the muddy ditch. We were told to wait for the police before we tried to get our truck out of the ditch. There were at least 15 villagers that stood with us at the truck until the police came. These villagers made us keep telling them that we would tell the police that it was an accident. At about 6:00 am, a man came who claimed he was the police and asked us to tell him what happened. He was clearly not a real policeman so we told him the same story that was written in the report to satisfy the villagers who were watching closely over us. This man tried to convince us to go back to the school to use a phone to call the hospital, but we refused because we felt it would bring another attack on our lives. At about 7:30 am four Policia National came to the scene of the accident. We told them the same story about crashing our truck and the policemen very clearly did not believe it. The Policia National took photos of every aspect of the accident, including the condition of the truck, the scene of the accident which very clearly shows the boulder barricade that the village set up to trap us, and close-up photos of our head injuries. The policemen helped us get our truck unstuck and we were escorted out in police vehicles at around 8:00 am. We were met by an ambulance that we were told was going to transport us to the city of Cuzco, which is what we wanted as there is better medical care there and we would feel much safer there as it was further away from the village. The police had told us that they would escort the ambulance to the city of Cuzco and would drive our truck to Cuzco so that we could get it fixed. Meanwhile, on the way out of the village that we were attacked in, the police picked up a truckload of villagers who could have very well been part of our attack and brought them along with them to the same town they were escorting us to. We felt extremely unsafe.

“That morning of December 30, 2012, we were brought to the town of Ocongate, Peru and asked to get out of the ambulance. We said no, that we wanted to go to Cuzco and they told us they had to clean our wounds in the Ocongate medical clinic and then we would be brought to Cuzco. While we were being treated in Ocongate, which included about 100 stitches between the three of us (most of these stitches addressing head injuries), we kept requesting to be taken to Cuzco by either the police or the ambulance. The story kept changing and soon it became apparent that we were not going to be taken to Cuzco. We had asked in the clinic to be connected to someone at the US Embassy and finally a member of thepolicia connected us to Amy Bakal at the US Consulate in Cuzco. We explained our situation to Amy and told her we felt very unsafe in the town that we were in. We then found a translator and had the translator tell the policia our exact account of what happened. Once we had been able to tell our story to the US Consulate and to the policia national, we started getting better treatment and were eventually taken from the medical clinic to the police station where they fed us and allowed us to get clothes out of the truck to change into as we had been sitting in bloody, muddy, wet clothing for almost 24 hours at that point. We signed an initial police report that was written by the policia national in the Spanish language in the town of Ocongate. We have copies of this police report. We left the town of Ocongate at 6:30 pm and were brought by the policia national to Cuzco. We were promised by the mayor of the village that our truck would be brought to Cuzco after the investigation by the policia. However, when we met the consulate that night in Cuzco, our policia national escorts told the consulate that they would not be driving the truck to Cuzco.

“The past few days, which should have been a time for us to mentally process what happened, heal physically from our traumatic injuries, and regain strength, have been almost as tiring as the attack itself. We have spent at least 10 – 12 hour each day in different medical clinics being examined since we were not brought to the correct medical facility in Cuzco immediately after the attack. Without the truck we have had to take taxi cabs from each medical clinic, one which we were mandated to visit by the police which was an hour outside of the city we are currently staying in. We have not been able to eat properly as all of our time has been waiting for and meeting with doctors and trying to figure out how to access our money since all but one of our debit cards were stolen. We are staying in an overpriced hotel that has no regular hot water and we haven´t been able to switch hotels because all of our time has been spent at the medical clinics.

“We spent December 31, meeting with the Amy at the US Consulate and getting medical treatment at the Clinica San Jose in Cuzco, Peru. This treatment included checking our stitches and bruises, x-rays for my sister-in-law, and a cat scan for my brother. We were prescribed antibiotics and pain killers by the doctor. My brother will also need extensive dental work as four of his front teeth are either knocked out or severely damaged.

“We met with a legal doctor on January 2, 2013, who examined our injuries in order to be used in court testimonies. We are meeting with the police from Ocongate, the police from Cuzco, and Amy Bakal with the US Consulate today, Thursday, January 3, to submit an official statement for the police report. I was supposed to fly back to the United States yesterday January 2, 2013, morning, but my passport, license, and all my money and debit cards were stolen during the attack. After the attack, I do not feel comfortable traveling alone to Lima to get to the Embassy so my brother and sister-in-law be will be accompanying me up to Lima after we make our statements to the police on Thursday over the weekend so that I can get my emergency passport and fly back to the United States early next week. The airlines are currently trying to charge me almost $1,000 to travel back, or almost $200 to travel back over the course of three days. Mentally I am not sure of my ability to spend three days on flights and in airports. Those of you who know me know that is saying a lot since I am the queen of airport sleeping.

“This situation has not only been extremely traumatic both mentally and physically, but has also become a huge financial burden for the three of us. We had thousands of dollars of possessions stolen from us during the attack, our medical bills and money spent on prescriptions as well as taxi cab travel and hotel bills are growing, the damage to the truck is extensive and will be costly, the cost of replacing my passport and changing my plane ticket will be in the hundreds of dollars, and I am missing an extra week of work pay because of the requirement to meet with the police and then time at the embassy to replace my passport before I can leave the country.

“A list of our tangible stolen possessions and their approximate value is below.”

Jennifer Wolfrom’s stolen possessions:

• Canon Rebel Ti1 DLSR camera, wide angle DSLR lens, two lens filters and three 8 or 16 GB photo cards = $2,000

• iPhone 5 = $600

• Alps Mountaineering Four Season two person backpacking tent = $250

• Women’s Patagonia Primaloft Nano Puff jacket = $200

• Women’s Outdoor Research rain jacket = $150

• Out Door Research snow gators = $120

• Big Agnes Dual Core Primaloft sleeping pad = $200

• 700 Peruvian Soles = $350

• Women’s La Sportiva mountaineering boots = $400

• Princeton Tech Head Lamp = $40

• US Passport = $140

• Driver’s license = $25

• Camelback Cloud day back pack = $80

• Miscellaneous clothing = $200

• Debit and Credit cards

Total: $4,755

Joseph Wolfrom and Meghan Doherty’s stolen possessions:

• Women’s Garmont mountaineering boots = $400

• iPod = $300

• Sony Vaio Lap Top and software = $4,000

• Men’s Patagonia Nano Puff jacket = $200

• 5 gallon gas can and 5 gallons of gas = $120

• Extensive First Aid Kit = $100

• Men’s La Sportiva climbing shoes = $120

• Garmin GPS = $300

• Native polarized sunglasses = $100

• Miscellaneous clothing = $300

Total: $5,940

We are unsure what the total costs of the following will be, but they are sure to be extensive:

• Food, lodging, and transportation in Cuzco, Peru for an extra week

• Airfare to the US Embassy in Lima, Peru for passport replacement

• Food and lodging in Lima, Peru for the duration of the passport replacement process

• Repairs to extensive damage to the Toyota Tacoma truck and Phoenix Pop-up camper

• Medical and Dental bills for injuries acquired during the attack

• Possible mental health expenses regarding trauma from the attack

• Possible expense of towing the Toyota Tacoma from Ocongate to Cuzco if the policia will not drive the truck to Cuzco as promised


Reader Comments
ridiculous. this is the dumbest story ever. they probalby got drunk, had an accident, sold their passports for drugs and now need some cash and a good story to get back home. this is a joke. love that they have the exact details of everything they sold for drugs. hysterical story. can’t stop laughing.
must be kidding me

how desperate are you for attention? people like you give traveling americans a bad name. what a joke you are. stop with this story. nothing checks out. this is a SCAM!!!
must be kidding me

ok, I’ m peruvian so probably most of you people won´t take credit of me, but this history seems so fake! I know that Peru is not a rich country, but this is not Africa. Why would an entire village attack tourist without any specific reason? Sorry, but it seems so fake. And i haven´t seen any news about that, wich is very strange, because tourist are usually gicen a lot of attention. Do you have any proof of what they are saying? videos, fotos, a copy of the police report? anything?
Manuel vera

i don’t even know the exact name of everything i have on right now,,,,much less what was stolen by crazed villagers in the middle of the night and for many days. they are soliciting for money. SO WRITE A NOVEL AND STOP RIPPING OFF YOUR FRIENDS.
must be kidding me

I am good friends with Jennifer and this is true. That is their police statement, which is why there are so many details and facts. As a hiker, you know what equipment you have with you. I know this seems unbelievable. But sadly it is true and they are still trying to get back to the US. They are not soliciting your money.
Jasper Quin

My name is Josh Floyd, Jed (Joseph) was my best man at my wedding. He and his wife Meghan are like family to both me and my wife Amy. Through them we met Jenny and our family grew to include her. All three have spent time in Jackson and have called it their home. They have touched our lives as I’m sure they have touched others. I just wanted to say thanks to our community and our extended network of friends who have given or tried to help right something so wrong.
josh floyd

Scary, they’re lucky they got out in one piece. How could a whole village react like that? Very weird and sad. Hope they get home ok.
No Joke

This is not a scam. This is my family. I have been in contact with Senator Leland Christensen and one of the WY congressmen. This story was likely supplied to JH Weekly by your senator who is trying to help my family. If you have any questions, please call Senator Christensen at (307)690-0903 or the congressmen in Cheyenne at (307)772-2548. Your comments are extremely disturbing and not at all helpful. If you would like to help (and you should), keep your money and call your congressmen so he keeps calling the US Embassy in Lima and helps to get them home safely. Otherwise, try sleeping tonight with thoughts of your sister, brother or loved one being whipped, chased, beaten with rocks and surrounded by angry foreigners with guns at their heads. Get a grip Jacksonites. Help your neighbor with positive thoughts and prayer. Keep your disgusting negativity to your own household.
Kristi Wolfrom

no shortage of haters/flamers for everything that appears online. some people see the glass half full, some half empty, too many many – hiding behind anonymity – see only the glass and think what a great weapon it would make if it was shattered and someone used a shard to slit someone else’s throat.
jake

I also know this family and they are good people, great friends and very willing to support others. Maybe some parents don’t teach the lessons to never say anything negative but some families teach values. This family has values, and a lot of friends that care about them and a lot of people that are fighting to get them home. Let us fight the fight and keep your opinions to yourself if you don’t have anything positive to add.
Ashley

I am very good friends of the family and know for a fact that these were very true and disturbing events. However, I can also see myself questioning this story if I was an outsider. The list of the lost goods and financial burdens they are experiencing were writing for a formal police report that was filed that was released to the media. They were not intended to be posted in anyway as a “fundraising mechanism”. Please support the Wolfrom family…this is not the time or place to be saying anything that could make this troubling time even worse for the family.
Kate

the story is true. there are people who have been tortured, family who are waiting for them to come home, and friends that are raising awareness. there is no time for negativity right now.
kob

To speculate that something like this isn’t true is completely insensitive to those involved. To have to go through something like this is traumatizing enough for those involved as well as their families. Keep your negative thoughts to yourself and go back to surfing the web from your mothers basement.
Mike Cosgrove

Seems very odd that a whole village in a very popular tourist destination area would suddenly attack travelers for no reason. Are there state department warnings posted now for the region? Stories like this are the reason I feel no desire to travel outside the US.
scarystuff

hey Manual Vera dumb f%#k your in our country now!! Your in these cats home town you really want Karma kickin your a$$. This is no joke but you open your mouth a little more Im sure a jackson local will make you the joke bi%ch!!
Parsons

Jed, Meghan and Jenny are wonderful people and friends. They would do anything to help out a friend or stranger in need. This is the scariest close to home story I have even heard. Like Kristi said please call your representative or anyone you know connected with a US Embassy to help them out!
Natasha Krochina

I have no doubt this is a true story, I lived in Peru for 10 years. Here’s my reaction to this unfortunate event: http://www.streetsoflima.com/2013/01/a-reaction-to-nightmare-in-peru.html
Walter Rhein

I looked at their blog, and it looks like they were asking for financial support prior to this alleged incident. I am referring to the link to paypal, “buy us a tank or a taco”. The Jackson newspaper also says they have already collected over 8,000 dollars. That seems like enough money to get to the US Embassy, and stay until they can get their paperwork in order to return to the USA. I don’t know what really happened to these people, but I do know that when you travel in a foreign country, you take measures to insure yourself if something like this happens. Copies of paperwork located online and with friends/families back home, money in the bank that you can access, insurance on your vehicle and equipment, etc. I feel for these people if this really happened to them, but I also feel like they were taking risks and that should have been prepared for the potential consequences. I do not understand why they feel like the general public should be sending them money. Many people would love to spend a year traveling, but cannot afford to do so, and it sounds like this couple couldn’t afford it, either, or they would have access to their own money to get themselves home. If they cannot afford to get home, then since they are so well loved by their friends and families, their friends and families should step up and loan them the money. Vibes. Some lessons are learned the hardway
Jamie

This is a true story! The individuals in this story are siblings of my friend and your ignorant comments are not needed. Your presumptions are ridiculous and cruel! God help you if you or a love one are ever in this situation and people react the way you have! Those of you that wrote the outlandish comments didnt need to write anything at all nor does the family who is going through enough by the way need to read your unfair uneducated comments! YOU have NO idea what is going on!
marsha

This is a very true story and the girl that wrote it is one of my best friends. You people should be ashamed of yourselves for writing what you did. They are all very successful people that have no reason to lie about what happened to them. That large amount of money that has been collected is from everyone that believes in them and cares for them. I hope that you never ever find yourself experiencing something like this because by the sound of it, there won’t be anyone around to give a shit.
Jessica

jed and jenny are not liars or thieves. they’re wolfroms. we’re as real as families get. so to all the people who are leaving cruel feedback, go find some real excitement in your own lives to freak out over.
Jessie Wolfrom

can you all say gullible at the same time…like “cheese” before a picture is taken. These “loved’ family members have to solicit online for the world?…why not say…hey sis…loan me a few bucks so i can get home. Many stories get a lot details to make them seem real…but it backfires
Get Real

Get Real – you must have the good fortune of having relatives that can loan you thousands of dollars when in a pinch. You know nothing about this family. If you don’t believe it just move on and leave your negativity elsewhere. These people are someones daughter,son, friend and loved one. Respect that! Sending prayers and toughts for safe return!!!!
TH

Dont worry most people believe them. This is just a few folks trying stir the pot. Dont take their bait.
For Reals

their blog says they saved money for two years for the trip. they must have had a nice reserve in this case. no mention of cash being stolen, only zero-liability credit/debit cards. which means any money they have is safe in their bank at home. shucks, even Visa customer service can help you schedule travel in an emergency. yet it seems they are destitute. very suspicious.
eric t

It’s sad to me that as human beings, some people can feel so little compassion. Jamie, they don’t have access to any money because all of their possessions, including credit cards, debit cards and identification were stolen. They cannot simply be mailed a new credit card as they are in the middle of a remote village and without identification, cannot get on an airplane. The unfortunate part of this article is that it fails to mention that what was written by Jennifer was an account of the incident to an agency who is set up to help travelers who experience violence abroad – and providing details on their stolen possessions for relief is part of it. They are not pleading for the public’s money or support. And yes, when you have expensive equipment and gear with you for such a trip, you know exactly what you’re missing. The fortunate part is that the money that has since been raised has been given by persons who each know Jennifer, Jed or Meghan personally and are invested in not only their well-being, but their safe return to the United States. Our contributions will help them off-set the costs they have already incurred that insurance won’t pay for as well as help them recover the material posessions that were stolen from them. We have come together to help our friends and the negativity posted on this wall will do nothing to deter us. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
Jodi

So many holes in this story, where to begin? Let’s just say “exactly two beers” is the beginning of most lies to police. These people give Americans abroad a bad name – please don’t pay to replace their lost toys, think folks.
Got a bridge to sell

If true (?) clearly these American tourists were oblivious to how much they were “flaunting” their American exceptionalism and acting like “poor little rich white kids” with too much time on their hands, while running around in a REI warehouse on wheels through abject poverty. Idiots. I hope things work out for the best for them, but next time pull your heads out of your asses and realize, “Your not in Kansas anymore Knucklehead”.
DCT

Dct you have no idea what they went through and to say things like that is cruel cold heart! And too got a bridge eric must be kidding me I really hope your family never has anything terrible happen to them and you respond the way you have! I know the family and it is true, if you dont believe it for what ever reason then fine stop reading. There is NO need for your comments
marsha

i wish them the best. not trying to be harsh. violence and loss of any kind are not a joke. i think most of us are pointing out inconsistencies that seem out of place with the information given to us. for example, you say that these folks cannot receive any money from friends or family or get new credit cards because they are in a remote village. in this case, how is donating money on their website going to help if it can’t get to them? not attempting a flame war (and this will be my last post on the subject), but just seeing holes in the information given to us about this situation. if there is more to it than in the story, fine. i apologize. but i don’t see why some here are vilified for commenting on the information given to them. saying, in effect, “you don’t even know the whole story, don’t be hater” is not an effective way to help me fill in the gaps that i apparently have. i hope for their safe return home, and whatever the situation is/was, all come back happy, healthy and whole.
eric t

I seriously cannot recall any instances of the people of Peru, let alone entire villages attacking tourists. I understand from reading the comments this is a police-type report, but it just doesn’t jive, and neither do their facts. I’m not insensitive to their plight, but it doesn’t make sense. I hope once they get home any extra money raised goes to a Peruvian charity because at this stage it reads like a con to replace lost/damaged/stolen goods. Peace.
Jim

Anonymous online posting really brings out the ignorance in people. I feel bad for the few of you that have to live with such hate in your hearts. It must be a burden to carry that around all day. The people who know this family (like me), and the people who don’t but are compassionate and normal human beings, are hoping for a safe return.
Lindsay

Not a lot of this makes sense, but I keep coming back to the question, who would make this up? And why? Lots more information to come, I’m sure, hopefully in the form of an official report from the consolate to embassy.
Anonyholic II

This is outrageous. This incident must be investigated.
oswaldo

Sen. Leland Christensen is assisting…. http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=9411
Sam

When Jennifer writes “Those of you who know me…”, it indicates that this is NOT an official police report. This is a blog post. But, come on, they were never given a reason?? This is absurd. 30+ villagers are instantly convinced that these 3 American tourists are a threat and not a one of them protests or defends them? These men and women just shout that they should be killed. So why weren’t they? The villagers didn’t hesitate to throw rocks, whip them, beat them with boards, blockade their truck. So why not finish the job? I’ve read a few books of kidnappings in South America by rebels, and usually a ransom is involved. To think that this all happened in a single day is confusing, and the stereotypical “Presidente” name for their leader is also a red flag for me. Obviously since this is a woman many people know in our community, denying this event is a sensitive subject. But this is essentially an attack on Americans on foreign soil, and it’s not in the news. Anywhere. Why? And if Jennifer was beat with a board repeatedly in the head, why did she not receive a cat scan too? This might very well be a true story, but this account is flawed.
Andrew

Here you go for all the negative comments… Here is an update I just read,… “The TODAY show would like to interview Jed, Jenny and Meg! All of your help, support and prayers are working! Keep it coming!” So when everything comes out and continues to show how true it is; is every negative commenter going to come back on and retract or apologize for their comments???
Bill

There are ways that travelers can be sent money or transfer money to themselves without identification. Having ccpies of important documents and identification helps. They are in Cuzco, which is a tourist destination and should have the services they need to get access to their money (if they have any).
Jamie

I think she forgot to leave out the part of the story where there were looking for coke and pissed someone off
Chris

If they go on the “Today” show or seek further publicity then we know they’re looking for their 15 mins of fame. This story is so unbelievable on every level. Shame on the folks blindly supporting them without official reports and sending money! The stupidity is outstanding – I can understand family, but friends falling for this is too much to stomach.
OT

This is not a scam but more of a story of travelers who sparked mob retaliation due to their arrogance. You do not drink loiter and camp on private property, nor do you drink and smoke marijuana on private property in Peru, nor in any other place that I can think of. When confronted by local mayors or enforcement (in Peru there are Serenazgos, not police who are more like constables and do not wear uniforms) you show them your identification and do not provoke them. These travelers if they continue their sob story will greatly hurt tourism in Peru just because they felt privileged not to show any local authority their passports. You do not get beat down by an entire village for no reason in Peru, it does not happen, be rational people, every actions has an equal and opposite reaction, they must of been unruly in their drunken/high state and provoked, worse perhaps pushed or punched a villager and then tried to flee. Then you have the travelers listing their lost items at unusually high prices. As a foreigner living in Peru and owning a travel company in Peru these things simply do not happen for no reason. An investigation should quickly determine the outcome and I hope all travelers visiting any country learn a lesson from this incident.
John

Some very ignorant, as well as very intelligent people on this board. Bad things can happen to good people, and if it ever happens to you, you would hope people would be so kind and selfless as they were in this scenario. The fact that hundreds of people came together to help these 3 out is inspiring, not something that should be criticized!
Jim

It deeply saddens me to read people think this is false. It saddens me more that a genuine woman who asks for nothing ever in life, now has to feel bad for receiving goodness. It is hard to ask and even harder to receive help. Common people open your eyes… I feel for what you all have been through and I pray that the emotion pain does not linger and effect you in a negative way. Stay strong keep traveling and being real to life! We should all be grateful for ever day given, and thankfully these guys have been grated some more. HZ
HZ

After dark, way into a big coca producing area which mistrusts/hates anglos, with nobody speaking the local [Quechua] language, more wealth in their truck than in the entire village, not identifying themselves, being argumentative, driving down a dead-end road, then macing the villagers. Glad they are basically ok. That many mistakes in any such region could have easily turned fatal. The interview comments further suggest they still don’t really understand the situation they put themselves in. Saying ‘no’ to locals asking for identification is arrogant in their eyes. They are the police in their little village. And it’s their reaction and definition of arrogant that mattered here. We Americans are the worst at thinking our values/customs are the best and found all over the world. Unfortunately, it also makes incidents like this happen, and stories of such very believable.
dc

These are life long friends of mine. This is not made up or a scam. Jed, Meghan, and Jenny have a passion for life. They are lucky to be alive. It’s their friends and family who know how amazing they are and how fortunate we are to have them in our lives.
Ike Parsons

“We didn’t ask for money…” and yet here is a list of our missing possessions, their value, the amount that the airline wants to charge us, how much a new passport will cost, and also I’m missing a whole week of work. And to think this whole incident will cost upwards of $30,000! But no, we’re not asking for anything.
Come on…

They were asking for money before the incident even happened. You can “buy them a taco or a tank” to keep them going here… https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=sS-XENMRdUW5dOYMWG2l9uaoFYOchjiULigogsWnBI6U861oQTVIDiFtubS&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d0b7e678a25d883d0fa72c947f193f8fd From their blog.
Jeff

I do know them, and unlike others here standing up for them, I will pointedly say that arrogance is a trait I have witnessed time and again. I am staying anonymous and cowardly, but the truth is I can see them turning a situation from bad to worse based on their entitled mentality. Sorry this happened, but you all need to look each other and learn why this happened to *only* you.
PN

props to all of the desktop heroes hiding behind their keyboards – we’re all proud of you. i know jenny – and she is not a liar. scam? no one is forcing anybody to financially support this cause. it’s completely voluntary, so quit your bitching. if you want to talk about jenny’s character in person, i’ll be at the pub tonight. carhartts, black coat, green hat. just ask for #167
andy z

Lets rework this into the first person from the other side; Some foreigners park their camper in your yard and ask to camp in broken english. Some trigger makes you suspicious of them it could be anything, alcohol, unruly behavior, excessive money. You call your local security (police or whoever) who comes and asks for their identification but they refuse and instead haul ass away from you down a street you know to be a dead end. All the neighbors show interest and next thing you know a mob as been created with one goal which is to apprehend these fugitives. The street is baricade, knowing they will have to come back. Great lengths are made to get them and they are injured while trying to flee. Finally they are apprehended and it is found that they have done nothing wrong. Meanwhile they have already been beaten, the village has barricaded a road and been bear sprayed all over a mistake. Everyone is mad and has their own opinions of what they want done. Maybe if you have them sign a form that says they did this to themselves the Government Police will not be so upset. Had this happened in the south side of Chicago or Queens or even in rural Wyoming, I don’t the three of them would EVER have been found or heard from again. They should be counting their lucky stars.
AB

Seems that I see people that I know posting on both sides of the argument. I truly hope that however these people get out of Peru, I hope that they do so in a safe and timely manner. That being said, I have NEVER asked for money when I have been in trouble. I have been stranded, I have been assaulted, I have been in scary situations far from home. I have never set up a paypal account to ask for free money before or after any incident. I’m sorry that this has happened, but I can’t give money to someone who has put themselves in the path of danger, whether they did so knowingly or ignorantly. Donate if you want, but I barely make ends meet and I will be able to sleep tonight knowing that I am not able to throw my money at someone else’s cause. (Whether it be a true horror story or a half cooked idea that spun out of their it control.)
J

was just chased down the hall by a crazed mob. They were shining blinding flashlights at me. They pulled me into the bathroom & whipped me. I went to hospital and they wouldn’t admit me but told me to come back every day for the next week so I won’t be able to work. They took my Louis Vuitton bag… And my Burberry coat. Also. my Rolex which I really need to replace so I’ll know what time it is when I finally start going back to work. Can you give me money?
no way Jose

Andy Z, I am Jenny and Jed’s sister. I will be flying into Jackson next week. I’ll meet you at the pub to discuss. Thanks for your positive messages. On a mother note, we the family have never asked for money. Jed and Meg saved money for 2 years before leaving for South America. The “buy us a tank or taco” fund was instilled so family members could send them a few bucks on holidays and birthdays. That is all. The fund that was established yesterday was administrated by Jenny’s college roommate and life long friend. The fact that over 230 people donated is mind blowing and just goes to show how much people care for these three. Jed, Jenny and Meg have not left Cuzco because they needed to obtain proper documenting in order to fly. In Peru you can fly with a valid police report. Because all of Jenny’s identification was stolen, they had to wait until they could get.their police report filed. This happened yesterday so tomorrow they can fly out of Cuzco. It had nothing to do with money it was just a matter of getting proper documentation. Again, please stop with the negative and ignorant posts. If have something to say, please email me directly at [email protected] Otherwise, I’ve wasted enough of my time on you.
Kristi Wolfrom

google Amy Bakal…she doesn’t work for the US Consulate. No indication she ever has.
Skeptical

I did check into Amy Bakal. She is likely affiliated with Consulate in some way or does pro-bono work with them or at the least translates. http://pe.linkedin.com/pub/amy-bakal/8/138/b88
jake

I know this is a sad question but….post a photo of them and prove all the negative responses wrong.
just asking….

I honestly feel very bad for whomever donated money to these folks. The story doesn’t add up, so much so that it isn’t even being covered in the local news, and get this EVERYTHING is covered here in Peru. You hit your wife the whole country knows about it. I have to agree based on what I have read so far that these travelers somehow sparked the incident, living here for over 50 years in Peru and this story does not add up. How did they survive Mexico?
Braun

It has hit national news in Peru www.peruthisweek.com has a English version. These are good people who did not deserve this. I am friends with them and know that this is not about money. We all hope for a safe return for them and shame and those that want to hate get a life.
GT

Paijan, Peru where I believe this took place has a very bad reputation. I found this out in about 30 minutes of google searches and reading stories. So yes it may have been about being in the wrong place at the wrong time but I also believe ignorance as to where you are and the situation in that place when it comes to violence on tourists. I have driven the Pan Am from Jackson as far as Panama City and I know the places between here and there that are dangerous. That is part of being a responsible traveler in my opinion.
Ian

http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-3370-report-three-american-tourists-brutally-attacked-in-cusco-province/

jake

@Ian: Maybe should have spent 35 minutes Google searching. This did not happen anywhere near Paijan, Peru.
jake

What a tragic, terrifying, and horrific event. I do not doubt for a second that this is a true account. Scary. What is almost as bad, are the hurtful and negative words left by some people who have no compassion. To accuse these three of making up a story like this to get money is sick. It is kind of like their own neighbors are continuing to throw rocks. Shame on you, I am sad to hear such ugly names, threats, and pokes at the expense of these people, who just lived one of the most horrific events a traveler can imagine….please, if you are just going to continue to abuse these three… just move back to where ever you came from, you do not deserve to live in Jackson.
Trin

I am shocked! I grew up with the great Wolfom family. Down to earth, friendly and adventurous people. I hope everyone makes it home safe and sound. This trip is so Jed! Right after High School he hiked the appalachian trail. I understand those who may think that this sounds weird or made up but this is how this family is. He was not a rich white kid. They were far from over the top with needs. They are adventurous and outdoorsy, they had good equipment for the purposes of their adventure! We wish you well! Safe travels home!-
Heather Kenney

I also got to say I am having a hard time believing it all, having traveled much by my own vehicle by myself through Latin America from months on end. I put myself in sketchy situations but never could I imagine a whole village doing this. It simply makes no sense to me and I have camped in drug producing areas in Mexico plenty. It simply sounds to much like something out of a movie or from days when people went on witch hunts. The only way I could see a village going off in a crazed mod like is described is if they killed somebody in the village or the village felt threatened by them. Drug lords would have just shot them in the head and dumped them in the river.
Ian

I grew up With Meghan and my mom called me to tell me she had bad news relayed from Meghan’s parents. I sat there and cried listening to what had just happened to them. They saved money for over two years and planned their trip very well, including where they should avoid traveling. They have been through a hardship and asked for help and I see nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it.
Leslie

I don’t know any of these people who were involved, but all of people posting negative comments should get a grip! Your RIDICULOUS! It really doesn’t matter how you analyze their trip, you weren’t there you don’t know what happened, it doesn’t effect you, you don’t have to give money! So stop…. Isn’t it enough to wish people a safe trip home! Geeesh
Beth

I have a friend who in fact helps plan and stage ‘fake’ news events. Clients include people like the ‘Balloon Boy’, the Tea Party, big politicians, corporations, etc. I know how these things are planned, what sorts of things go on, and so forth, and I also know friends of the people involved in the present case. I can tell you, by all appearances, in light of the known details, this instance is not a ‘faked’ attack. These people have nothing ‘sufficient’ to gain from the level of pain endured in this event, and there is a LOT of international government involvement (you avoid that at all costs when staging ‘fake’ things). In other words: This is real. I hope the assholes who are making accusations to the contrary get to endure something similar someday, so they can judge for themselves. I know that’s not nice, but it’s from the heart.
SB

I totally believe this violence happened. These peoplle are not crazy, or making things up to make a quick buck. Yet Peru has a mild reputation, much more so than (say) mexico. When things like this happen a series of things happen, seemingly unrelated, that culminate in something bad. For example, some bad incident with tourists doing bad things, these people thinking they were ok parking where they did, when they were not. People who had not been involved getting bear sprayed, and then deciding to join the crowd. Bear spray injury to some innocent of village favorite. Something tripped a wire in the crowd, and miscommunication reigned. Most people in peru and simple loving people. On the other hand, being from Peru is no guarantee of your character, there are bad people there too. Once the vehicle was left alone, I’m not shocked it got pilfered, any more than if a bunch of 100$ bills are dropped on a street, most are picked up and taken, not safeguarded. Its just a crazy combo of things, these Americans deserve our sympathy. They are the kind of social/eco tourists that supposedly do some good, rather than sitting in the cities in 5 star hotels. And let’s remember the trauma and shock that somehting like this is. Most Americans do not experience violence, this must have felt like near-death. Its the same kind of Post truama stress a warrior feels. And we expect them to be logical, cold, financially clear, and independent. Peru is not a bad place, but there are some bad people. There are rude and arrogant American tourists, but these are not some of them. Let’s get real and feel a little, and try to visualize walking in their shoes.
bb

I believe it happened and agree more with @dc’s comments. It’s seems like there were a lot of mistakes made by the travelers. Interesting response from the community.
Mary

There are an awful lot of conspiritards who need a hobby after that disappointing lack of an Apocalypse. Seriously: Between the three of them, they’ve probably suffered at least $30k, maybe $50k in damages (medical, vehicle, possessions, etc). So they’re only $35k away from breaking even! After that: Profit! Seriously, you’d have to be an utter moron to think this was ‘planned’. What’s the upside to having your jaw smashed and your teeth knocked out? I’d need to be paid a hell of a lot more than that to endure such pain. Not to mention it’s a lot easier to commit insurance fraud by getting rear-ended in Los Angeles than to do something like this. … go back to licking windows, nomnoms.
Sam

No need to be upset. It is simply a remarkable story that many cannot just accept without question. For me, I do not understand how these brutal, savage, and uncivilized villagers chased these innocent travelers hours at 11,000 feet but could not catch them? Are our travelers ninjas? Are the villagers cannibals that lost their appetite? Then, hours later, the savage villagers (i.e. men, woman and children with nothing better to do) decide after HOURS of torture, suddenly to have the heart to let these travelers go (and not eat them) but not without having the travelers sign and fingerprint a document for the villagers to defend themselves later in court. This makes no sense to me. There is something significant missing from this story.
The Reasonable Skeptic

This was nothing but an internet scam to get money….and suckers actually sent them money.. Unbelievable…
Mark B

Just saw this on Peru This Week http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-3370-report-three-american-tourists-brutally-attacked-in-cusco-province/ “Peru this Week was able to confirm that the official mentioned in the blog post works at the US consulate, but the official declined to comment on the events. According to El Comercio, Cusco’s office on foreign trade and tourism confirmed the incident, based on reports from the Ocongate police station, but said no formal complaint had yet been placed.” As an American living here in Cusco, I can tell you that this is defiantly not the norm, the Peruvian people are friendly and welcoming. That said I can see how this might have happened, most of the smaller towns and villages have no official police presence, as such vigilante justice is common. I have seen many time on the news where the police essentially had to rescue someone that a town had suspected of doing something wrong. Usually is the person is accused of theft and when the police arrive they have been stripped naked, tied to a pole, and beaten, whipped and/or stoned. My guess would be that there was a BIG misunderstanding and the villagers thought these people had done something wrong. Not saying that that makes it right, just that there are always two sides to every story, and I think this will boil down to a communication problem.
Lyle

I agree that some false judgments might have been made in that situation by the travelers, but seriously who is experienced enough to make the right call in any situation and under any circumstance and who has the right to judge and speculate? In my opinion they are lucky to be alive and in their suffering they gathered enough courage to share their story, so that others can learn from it. I am so glad that there are people in the community that stand by them and believe in them and offer support whether they know them well or not at all, because that is a sign of humanity and anything else would just signify the lack of.
LP

Then there’s this: https://www.crowdtilt.com/campaigns/peru-fund-help-jenny-meghan-and-jed
Anonyholic II

I would suggest people who think this is a scam do a little more reading and start at the beginning of Jed and Megans blog. They are real people who aren’t scammers and a credit to the Truck Camper community. http://tinyurl.com/ayermva
Chuck

They are sure quick to ask everyone else to pay for everything including costs for mental anxiety. These ” friends” on here are most likely them posing as others. If this turns up as fake I hope Peru locks them up for many years as they deserve it
Something stinks

I will say and make it clear I personally do not think it is a scam, if it was it is so weak of an attempt at one it is an epic fail. However, I am willing to say there is plenty of the story from that horrible night we as the public do not have. I can smell bullshit from 10,000 miles away and I smell some bullshit in the story posted on their blog. I know people who can convince themselves what happened and believe it to be true, in particular when traumatic shit goes down. Hell man, had I been there and this happened to me, I may forget a few things too or imagine a few things that didn’t happen. That is normal and natural. But I feel they need to think long and hard about what they are saying and reporting as truth. Why!? Because it is going to have a big effect on many things far beyond just Peru. This story is likely to go international and global soon not to mention viral on the web. When that happens the bullshit will just get deeper. People feed on fear and this is a classic example of fear. I also want to say for the record, if they were truly beaten and tortured as described, yes I have sympathy for them. Me having sympathy for them however does not change my feeling for a need to understand this beyond so random crazy 1 in 10,000,000 chance of it randomly happening. The way they tell their story, they were just chillin’ out, sharing a few beers and did nothing to provoke the village who then went absolutely ballistic crazy ape shit on them. Sorry but I just can not accept that. It is bullshit. I know it is bullshit because I have been there hanging out with wacky people in Latin America who would cut off my balls just for the fun of it. I didn’t provoke them so they didn’t cut them off. It really is that simple and that is why I think there is bullshit in their story. In my opinion the worst thing you might do if this kind of thing happened to you is lie or bullshit people. The claims they make are very serious and will have serious repercussions. Not just for tourism in Peru but for overlanders worldwide who like to get out and travel the world in their own vehicle. Perhaps before they went and made their story public to the world they should consider all these things and more. I was robbed by cops in Mexico who tried to frame me for cocaine possession, I been robbed by border officials entering Belize and Honduras. Before I went and made that public for the world to see I took the time to access the situation and also took the time to think about what I may have done to cause these things to happen to me. On top of this I never asked for any money or help from anyone when these things happened so yes I have a hard time understanding them asking for this kin of story. The first thing on their mind when they got out of there should have been to bee line it for the USA Embassy asap, no matter what. I myself have done that when robbed by officials and it is the only thing that makes any sense when confronted with tragedy in a foreign country. You don’t screw around with police reports and half ass medical service and you don’t post your story within a day on the internet after it happens, you go to a place that is safe and that is only inside the US Embassy. I know because I been there scared shitless in a foreign country. These folks have not seem to done that, rather they tell the tale like some innocent people who were ravaged by hundreds of crazy people hell bent on murder. And now they tell it like it is a huge inconvenience to them to deal with this problem, all the lost gear, the lost truck and the medical bills, the hassle of taxis and officials, ect ect. WTF, just go to the US Embassy for crying out loud! Sorry but I am just not going to buy that story on them saying it alone. I need more to prove to me this happened and could happen again. They did something wrong weather they understand or believe it, I simply can’t see it any other way. This is 2013 not the 16th century when people were burned at the stake on the whim. Women, children and normal human beings simply do not stand around while people are whipped, stoned, kicked and shot at for no reason what so ever. That is BS, I don’t care where it is in the world. I am no armchair jerk hiding behind my computer. I been there and done that more than once. In fact I would be happy to buy all three of them a beer when they get back to Jackson, heck I will buy more than one round and I want to hear the story from the horses mouth while I look them in the eye.
Ian

All, Meghan is my sister. Our family is mostly in South Carolina. My sister, Jed and Jenny have been through a very traumatic event. At this point all these accusations are not helping anyone. My family is stressed enough about the situation and we just want all three of them home safely. The stress on the three of them is great enough, they don’t need anyone from “home” adding to it. I just ask you to consider if this was your sister, would your comments help? They are not seeking money, just help to get the situation resolved and move on. Anything to do with a fundraiser was done by their friends that love them and wanted to try and find a way to help. My family would appreciate your support by stopping this conversation. When they are home safely, ask them your questions yourself.
DJ Doherty

I thought this was an interesting story and am waiting for the facts to be revealed. Jackson Hole is such a unique community. Most of these comments including the ones from those who are skeptical of this story show a level of education and intelligence. My first thought when I read this story was “how terrible that this happened.” My second thought was “hmm…what a strange story.” My third thought was “how come this wasn’t front page national news?” It all seemed odd…but I also know that it takes time for these stories to come out…especially when they have a national security aspect. I didn’t ever see it as a solicitation for money… Although I can see why some did see it that way. However…if in fact it was a solicitation for money…I will say that I find such a solicitation very unpalatable. I am fully aware of the privilege that 90% of the people who live in Jackson Hole come from as I lived there for quite a few years. The other 10% include immigrant workers, original hippie ski bums, and government workers. The fact that these people even owned all that name brand gear and could afford to spend so much time traveling points to a certain level of financial security. So many people out there work their asses off and never have the opportunity to travel abroad…will never own a piece of gear…and will not be able to afford to put their kids through college because all the money they earn goes to putting food on the table. That is the kind of cause I would donate to…but those people don’t ask for the help…and if they did…most people would just say…”well, work harder.” So here we have…in this case…a group of adults…who were fortunate enough to be able to take a great trip…to have an adventure…which carries with it a level of risk…and it went bad. I agree with the person who suggested that instead of sending money…write a letter to your senator. Show support for the family. Be an advocate in a way that makes sense. THAT is the proper thing to do. Send your money to a REAL cause…such as Cancer research…or the Food Bank.
anon

Anon – My name is Kristi Wolfrom and Jed, Jenny and Meg are my siblings. I have written on this post a few times. I have also suggested that people should write to their local senators and congressmen. Senator Leland is behind us 100% and has been extremely helpful. When I spoke with Leland this morning, he said he will gladly accept phone calls from anyone on this board who is skeptical. I have also invited folks to email me on my personal email account. So far, I have only received positive emails. So again, I will ask you to please call your local senator. His phone number is listed above. You can also reach me at [email protected] For those that care, I just spoke with Jenny and Meg. Both are in positive spirits and resting. Hopefully the will will fly to Lima tomorrow and meet with the US Embassy. The phone systems in Peru are unreliable and cut out unexpectedly so they are having a hard time confirming flights. They are safe and that is our main concern at this point. If you’d like more info, please email me.
Kristi Wolfrom

Right on @Anon. It’s an unfortunate situation for some very privileged folks taking an once in a lifetime vacation (probably with some of that Unemployment Insurance Jake has written about) and they should not receive compensation for the goods lost. Give your money to people who are really suffering, and there are many.
for reals

Sorry for your loss, but I’m not paying for your effin gear.
DHinJH

They aren’t asking you to pay for their gear, DHinJH. If you knew how to thoroughly read and process information, you would be able to see that.
B

what’s disturbing is that there are people, families – in our own town – suffering calamities far worse than having a scary exotic travel experience. And not one of you would think of donating to their suffering, or start some sort of kickstarter campaign to raise money for them. Families stricken with cancer, medical trauma, domestic violence, joblessness, mental illness that can barely survive the week in Jackson Hole are completely outdone by a story like this. And here they’ve managed to raise $20K in a day for their material things they’ve lost. Our priorities are just f**** up.
Mary

Mary, how do you know that they’ll even keep all of the money that THEIR FRIENDS set up for them? Knowing them, they may just use what friends gathered for them to help others in return. No one says you have to donate money. What they are trying to do is raise awareness and support. Imagine it to be your children one day so close to death.
B

Also, who are you to determine what a good cause is or not? No cause is different than the next. A person in need of anything, a hug, is a person in need.
B

Enough with the assumptions being made about these three people who just went through a hellish ordeal. Regardless of whether or not they made bad decisions or put themselves in a precarious position, they did not deserve their “attack” in Peru, nor do they deserve this online attack from anonymous and aliased Jacksonites. Unless you know them personally, who are any of us to judge. They have never asked you for anything. Stop assuming they are privileged or don’t work hard for their gear or their travels. Don’t assume anyone is on unemployment. Just stop making these bloody assumptions, they make those assuming sound childish and mean.
Anika Y

@ The Wolfrom Family. Have you contacted any major news producers yet. This story needs a lot more attention!
Matt

Hi Matt – Both my mother and I spoke with NBC today. Today show producers will be flying to Lima early next week. However, the story will not air until the 3 are safe on US soil.
KW

Here is a private message from Jed. Notice how aggressive his version of the story is, while his sister’s story is more desperate. Jed and his crew needs to stay in Wyoming. Here it is: Hello yall , hope your new years was well. Ours was not so good and is pretty much your worse nightmare of travel. After hiking for 4 days in the rain and snow we were heading back to cusco and decided to pull down a dirt road to camp for the night. This was no different then what we had done for thee last 9 months. After drinking a beer two dudes showed up on bikes and we started talking to them, they seemed cool , still nothing out of the usual. By now it was 7 and dark and we noticed a lot of lights coming from the hills and the two guys started whisling to the folks in the hills. In 5 minutes we were surroneded by 20 villagers who were demanding our papers. Not being police I said no , they freaked oout and we jumped into the truck and hualed ass out of their as they through rocks at the trucks. The road dead ended about ten minutes later in a small town . we asked if we could camp in the town and they said no so we turned around. At this point we are pretty freaked out because we have to head back too the mob to get to the road. About 5 minutes down the road we hit oour first road block were the villagers had piled rocks and ssticks in the road. I rammed the yota threw and gunned it around thee corner all wile villagers where throwing rocks at the car . I hit the next road block in a couple of minutes that was made up of three large stones, none rammable so I stoped and yelled tranquillo no prolemo and tried to talk too theem. They came to the drivers side and smashed the window in with a rock and split jennys head open. I gunned it and tried to drive around. Unfourtunatly I hit a 3 foot deep ditch and nearly rrolled the truck. We where stuck. Soon we were swarmed and the villagers began smashing windows lights, everthing. We grabed oour 2 cans or bear spray and jumped of the truck scared shit less. We sprayed down a bunch of folks but there where to many. Soon we were being smashed with rocks and sticks soo we ran into the fields. Being chased. We ran and fought for about half an hour intilll we were surrounded by about 30 people . At this point i was nocked out and we were all badly beten. The villlages grabed us and took us to there village were we were surroned and interrogated for the rest of the night at gun point they were trying to decide if they should kill us. at one point they shot just past our heads. I thoougth I was about to watch my sister and wife get killed many times that night. We were wipped and beaten through out the night and at some point they made us sign a confesionn that we were drunk and crashed our car. By day brake they pushed us off to our car and 15 villagers waited for the cops to show up so that we would tell them that we had in fact ccrashed our car. While we were being beaten they had rran sacked the truk and stole about 10,000 dollars worth of our shit and most of our documents and bank cards. Windows all smashed lights smashed and everything fucked. One fake village cope showed up and interrogated us and tried to get us to return to the village I refused and at this point I was fucking scared were dead again. Thank god 4 real cops showed up about 10 minutess later wiith semi autos . never been so happy to see Peruvian cops in my llife. We played along with the yes wee were drunk and crashed the car but thee cops new better. It was obvoiuus the truck had been ran sacked and the dumb as villagers had not removed the road block. Thee cops made the villagers push me oout of the ditch , fucking yota drove out, amazing vehicle wait till you see how stuck wee were. The cops drove us out to a local shit hole hospital. We have about a hundered stiches between the three of us. I have 2 and half nocked out teeth, a massive black eye a destroyed lip a small fracture in the base oof my skull and a shit ton oof bruises.meg has a bunch of stiches in her head and so does jenny and both are covered with scratches and bruises from being beaten and whipped . we are all inn a lot of pain and have spent the last two days in the hospital. We are in cusco now and bought a computer yesterday so we can communicate. At this point I don’t really no what is happening with the rest of our trip. We have to stay here intilll thusday to do police stuff, then we are all going to lima to get jenny a new passport so she can fly home. The stupid fucks could not open our lock box so we have our passports but nothing else but two hidden atm cards. We have decided that we are done with the third world so no Bolivia for us. We will just head to chile . at this point we will decided if we are stable enough to finish this trip. We might just head to bueanous aires and ship home. We don’t know. I am not sure about Dakar, I want to go but I might need to come back to do some moore police stuff. I just want some fucking village suffereiing to go on now. So I will do what I can to make sure that happens. I have very little faith iin Peruvian cops but there seems to be a lot of pissed ooff people about this one. I also don’t know how long its going to take to get the truck back as it is being held hostage in front of the police station about two hours from hear in the middle of town with no windows, should be interesting see whats left in the truck when we get it back. Thenn of course we have to get all new windows and fix some stuff. So yeah we are happy to be alive but really fucked up mentally and physically. Both the girls woke up numerous times last night screaming. Not sure if camping will happen again for a while. Meg agrees that hanging around a lot of positive people at the Dakar might do some good but we cant commit yet. At this point we are just day to day. I have never had to fight for my life and ii have never seen such violence and I have never felt like I was going to die like that. This is your mothers worse nightmare. I have not told my mom the full extent, she thinks our truck was broken into. I don’t want her to worry needlessly about my sister intill she is home. So she will find out when jenny returns to the states. So iam trying to keep the face book lo key for now. Megs mom knows all. For now I would be happy to go back to the village and do some killing with soe oof my green beray buddys but I don’t think that will happen. Any ho carefull where you camp and I will fill you in on all the gory details latter. jed
Jed’s bad friend

“For now I would be happy to go back to the village and do some killing with soe oof my green beray buddys”…..Faced against an attitude like Jed’s, I could probably rouse a good number of angry villagers too. Hope his account goes as public as Jenny’s, because THAT is bullshit, folks. Two first-hand accounts, and still no reasoning or guesses as to how this violence was ignited??
Andrew

Ian buddy…your diatribe stinks…like a poof of hot air! Rule No. 1 online is never post when your drunk. Sober up buddy…you weren’t there…Mr. Expert Adventure Traveler. I used to see guys like you on comebackalive.com Have a nice trip next time. Chuck
Chuck

I lived through the trauma of a life threatening event with extensive physical injuries right here in Jackson. Twenty thousand dollars or even eight for a car, rent and food would have been nice. As it was the best offer was fare out of town. Fare back to town to be with their families in Jackson would be a good start for these adventurers. Chalking it all up to experience would actually be a very good thing
jeaninjackson

Jed’s bad friend…You are right about one thing: you are a bad friend. Way to pour some gas on the fire. Have you never been on the receiving end of some sort of personal tragedy? I would argue that a lot of people male and female who had witnessed first hand the beating of their spouse and sibling would naturally want some sort of revenge. Put yourself in that situation, can you honestly tell me that you wouldn’t be uncontrolably angry, or that you wouldn’t have thoughts of rage and retaliaion. Being a human being myself I feel these are normal reactions that many would go through directly after such a tragic event. Given some time and distance I’m sure these emotions will morph into something more constructive, but given that you were not there to share in their pain and humiliation I think it unfair to cast judgement on someone’s initial emotional response. If I have misinterpreted the message that you were trying to get across then by all means I urge you to email me ([email protected]) so you can clarify what it is you are trying to get across. Those of us who consider ourselves “good” friends stand with the Wolfroms and Dohertys as they cope with this tragedy. Show some respect for the family as was kindly asked for by DJ. For me I will know they are safe when I can put my arms around all three.
Josh Floyd

Hey everybody, I lost my job, my wife left me and my dog died! Who wants to finance a year long vacation for me?
Professional Bum #2

So after all of this, according to the post from “Jed’s Bad Friend”, 2 outta the 3 may STAY in South America and head to chile ? You’d think that after this experience all they’d wanna do is get home. By the way, I thought Jenny said all passports and all but one debit card was gone. Jed said only one passport is gone and two debit cards remain. Amazed that people, yes EVEN friends and family, are taking this INCREDIBLE story at face value. If they do stay in South America or take their adventures anywhere else but back home, all that money you, their friends and family, donated will be used to buy new gear, gas, and tacos for a longer trip. Brilliant.
Shaking my head

this a tragedy? how about a comedy. i can’t stop laughing. a comedy of errors. of stupidity. these ‘travelers’ are trying to pull the peruvian wool over everyones eyes. they sound like group determined to get some facetime…no matter who they have lie to, beg, borrow and steal from. the family has a vested interest in these clowns telling a true and accurate story…it’s their family (though i’d be distancing myself big time). for the friends, well, remember the balloon boy story, oj’s story, casey anthony story…more bullshit stories than there are crazed villagers racing around in the rain with whips and el presidents, rolling out finger prints, and stealing all but one debit card that is conveniently attached to a paypal account. keep writing everyone. i haven’t laughed this hard in years. can’t wait for the part about the spaceship saving them. that has to be coming soon.
gotta love it

right on…maybe balloon boy can rescue them…float over and drop cash, a few spare teeth, and some documents they can sell, again, to get to the next country for the next scam. oh and proud family of theirs? think about changing your name should these losers get any publicity.
rn

Is there any proof at all that the message posted by “Jed’s bad friend” is real? As someone who doesn’t know any of the people involved, it reads as completely phoney to me – it seems like a weak and underhanded attempt to fuel the flames of suspicion around this story. Even the commenters who are so happily claiming this is an undoubted scam should know better than to be taken in by something like this without any proof that it’s real. Funny how people are quick to claim that family and friends were “taken in” by the original story without applying the same standards to this account.
Observer

I believe everything I read on the internet.
j

Megan and Jed are not the type of people to make this up. My girlfriend and I travelled with them from Panama to Colombia, and shipped our vehicle in the same container to south America with them. I have seen first hand how they interact with local people, they are very polite. In south and central America while traveling you DO NOT!! Hand over your documentation to random people. If you do hand over your documents it is very very likely that you will have money extorted from you so that you can retrieve them. From what I read of their story that’s what the village was trying to do, obtain their documentation and use it to extort money from them, when the Wolfroms would not give up their documents things escalated badly. Having travelled through Peru I know first hand that people there do attempt to get money from travellers in this fashion (just usually on a small scale), it’s really unfortunate that some locals do this when the majority of the country is full of really great people.
Steven Kalmring

I travelled with Jed and Meghan for several weeks in Panama and Colombia, and I do not believe that this could be fake. They are good people, and not liars. I enjoyed their company on my travels, and they were very responsible. I wish I was as good a traveller as they are. I think it’s fair that Jed and Meghan want to continue travelling in South America. It’s a beautiful place. They had one very bad experience and it’s brave of them to want to continue. Peru can be a dangerous place. I was there in a similar fashion three months ago. Many people tried to extort money from us. Though nothing ever escalated to violence, we had a couple of iffy situations that may have ended badly were we less lucky. These three did what anyone would have done. Also, I believe that the fund set up in their name is to help travelers who experience these kinds of attacks, not just for them.
Brittany Tuff-Moors

this is a joke. what a bunch of classless rich brats who more than likely provoked this attack with their arrogance. sorry but the coke theories are sounding pretty right on.
noneofyourbuz

For those who do not know about village life in the Peruvian Andes, from someone who does, folks there are honest, God fearing salt of the earth people. Crime rates are almost zero, juvenile deliquents almost non-existent and dealt with early and swiftly. To think they suddenly turned into thieves is not believeable. Do they have stones on the road to slow cars through their village, yes. Do they like to know and control who comes to the village, yes. Do they search suspicious acting people and vehicles so as to help control drug problems, yes. Do they know how to react to rambo types who crash through their barriers as if they have something to hide, refuse to show any papers, and them pepper spray them? No.
peruexpat

Also–laughing about the whole Today Show lie. We are going to wait a long time for that one folks–remember Jed and Megan wanna continue their journey, so its gonna be a couple months, but keep sending that cash so they can replace their 400 dollar boots!
noneofyourbuzz

And finally…To all the sick people on here claiming to be family members–Get a life! I would think you would have better things to do with your time!
noneofyourbuzz

So they are taking the 20 thou and are going to continue traveling? This makes no sense. I feel bad for the incident, even if they acted poorly and caused it because I do not think it was intentional, and nobody deserves violence. I even support people helping them out with money if they really couldn’t afford to live/eat/pay medical expenses, etc until they could get everything sorted out to go home. What I can’t support is asking for money beyond their basic needs. Even if it is FRIENDS asking for money, they DID ask for help from an organization for travelers that were victims of violence (per the original blog post), and they could say no to the fund set up by their friends. They could say we only need X amount of dollars, and offer to either return the rest, or donate it to a charity. Instead it sounds like they are planning on continuing their journey, which to me, basically sounds like a vacation paid for by the charity of others. I am sorry they were roughed up, but people are roughed up all over the world every day because of situations that they are forced to live and work in. These people were roughed up while they were on a fairly risky adventure. They were putting themselves at risk. A known risk. By all means, have sympathy, and help them get home, but don’t support their continued journey. The difference is something like this… a guy is participating in a risky sport.. basejumping, maybe, and an accident happens and he is seriously injured. A second guy is hit by a drunk driver on his way to work, and has similar injuries. Who do you feel the most sorry for, and who are you most inclined to help? They both need an expensive surgery to recover completely. The basejumper wants to get back to base jumping, and the victim of the drunk driver just wants to heal so he can support his family again. That is how I see this. Give money to our friends who had something unfortunate happen to them so that they can continue on this great vacation. Respectable people would only accept the amount of money necessary to be safe getting home. There are too many people in need in the US, as well as all over the world for me to feel good about donating money so that some kids can continue their vacation, and it is frustrating that so many other people are so willing to do so.
h

Right on @h.
mg

Interesting. A story appearing in Peru’s El Comercio indicates the villagers that attacked the American trio may have initially mistaken them for cattle rustlers. There apparently has been trouble with that in the region. The story is getting its own “wildfire blog” going and judging from some of the responses people in Peru are also divided on some key issues. Some say the attack doesn’t sound like the locals there at all and want to see some pictures of the injuries. Others claim that village and some remote parts of the Ocongate region are off the beaten track for tourists and there has been occasional violence. http://elcomercio.pe/actualidad/1518317/noticia-cusco-turistas-estadounidenses-fueron-agredidos-campesinos-ocongate
jake

@Chuck…. Whatever man, I was not drunk when I posted that. And if you think I can type that when I am drunk you should see me sober! Trouble happens to find you when you travel by vehicle through other countries. It is not something any traveler, in particular the kind that take their truck with them look for. I am not a thrill seeker as you say who is out playing with danger or death. That is just dumb to say and you know nothing about me to say that. How about we sit down and have a beer and I can tell you more? The times I have been in trouble traveling it was my own doing by my own ignorance. I am also not hiding behind my computer, I am using my real name. I happen to be a resident of JH for 17yrs and am active in the overland community. That means I have an interest in these folk’s story. There are a few rules when traveling through other countries by vehicle. Yes, generally people do not hand over their documents to civilians. Another rule is to know the local customs and to respect those. If you are ignorant to where you are at and what the locals might consider normal then you may get into trouble. It is your responsibility to know how things are done and handled where you are at. By reading many posts on AdventureAmericas face book page and elsewhere it is pretty obvious getting info on where they were at and the local customs is not that hard to find. One of the biggest rules when going to another country in your own vehicle is do not take what you are not willing to lose. That means your truck, your gear, whatever you have. If you are not willing to lose it you shouldn’t take it and you should re-think why you are going. I another big rule is to have back up money and a back up plan, a way out if you get in trouble. This is an emergency fund/plan and if you don’t have one you still are not screwed. Western Union is available everywhere in the world. Without emergency funds you are risking a lot but family and friends can easily wire you cash which is then available to you in less than one hour. Final note, most overland travelers have insurance on themselves, especially if they are doing adventure activities like climbing. Not having insurance is a risk but that is each travelers personal choice. “Boondock” camping is considered dangerous by most overlanders. These folks it appears had been boondock camping a lot during their trip. The safer way to camp is to find a school, police station, restaurant or even a personal residence. Or camp within in sight of other campers. Be polite to locals and ask before camping and cracking open the beers. Often a meal is purchased from the restaurant or a few dollars provided to show your appreciation. This is how you go and do it safely and respectfully. I am almost positive had they simply cooperated with the villagers and the village leader from the get go none of this would have happened. Yes they may have been asked to pay a small fee to camp there, big deal, pay it and relax. I am not excusing the violence, it is unacceptable. I do have some sympathy for them. However, they were not just innocent victims in this tragedy. If nothing else they were ignorant to where they were and what the climate was there and or the local customs. During the course of the events they may have made some bad decisions and in my opinion they should think long and hard about that before going public with any of this. I read earlier a major news network is headed down to Peru next week to interview them and I suppose make this event national and or international news. Perhaps Jed, Meghan and Jennifer should take some time to reflect and study up on where they were and what may have caused a village to nearly burn them at the stake before going public with major news networks. And yes I was wrong about the village this took place in as per my post above. I misunderstood a post from another website where that town was mentioned.
Ian

And $15000 wasn’t enough for these poor folks who just had to buy a new laptop in Cuzco (where Internet cabins cost 20 cents/ hour). They have now reopened the account for donations and it is up to $19000. So to understand young Americans. They plan an adventure and ask for sponsers and get fishing and truck stuff. Then they do a blog asking for tacos and help from their “friends”. What ever happened to paying for your own vacation? Then they create a misadventure and quickly beg for money at a website that helps travelers (really?) even while suffering trauma and medical problems, this seemed to take priority. And even though the US Embassy can and is helping and their family can help, they seem to need more donations. Is this the new American way?
expatperu

Maybe the villagers don’t like trucker hats and hipster glasses?
neverknow

If you can’t afford to pay for every last gas can, taco, lost passport, and emergency flight home then sorry, but you CANT AFFORD this trip. If you need “sponsors” and a paypal account to help fund your trip then you CANT AFFORD it. These people are all around 30 years old. Quitting their jobs and buying expensive gear was their choice. I agree with expatperu. Since when is it ok to ask people to give you money to go on a trip? This wasnt a humanitarian mission. Their blog says they wanted to do a once and a life time trip for themselves. Everyone else they know is having babies and buying houses, but not them. They wanted to do this. Ok fine, whatever. But do not ask for money and don’t whine when your “$4000″ laptop allegedly gets stolen in a third world country. You are not in Jackson Hole anymore, folks.. And If you really want money to get home and get your documents, why is it important that you lost a 400 dollar nano puff jacket? This looks like a whoa is me money grab. I am sure something did happen to these three. im sure they got in a lot of trouble doing something. They probably are injured. But Injuries alone do not prove a thing.I would be STUNNED if what really happened to them had ANY resemblance to the story they told. I am going on a vacation soon, by the way. Anyone wanna sponsor me? I need a new suitcase. I also need some clothes. I’d like a nice camera. Sponsor me! Send me a taco! Are you kidding me??? GROW UP. And for everyone saying that their arrogance is what caused this, (while that is probably very true) you are missing the point. The point is, this story is either a complete fabrication to cover up some misdeeds down there, or it is so exaggerated it is barely recognizable from the actual events. The fact that these people may STAY in South America to finish their trip says it ALL. I hope they keep enough money for plane tickets home (and use them) and donate the rest. Or donate the whole amount. Looks like doing the conventional, responsible thing like having a job, isn’t such a bad idea after all, huh?
Abc

Love this story,its a true Jackson hole classic, and fantastic idea. To create a website detailing a great road trip you dream of embarking on, then actually receiving money for doing so, is an amazing feat in itself. From what I understand, Phoenix Campers actually donated them with the top of the line pop top camper that was to be the two’s home for the entire trip! The camper was well over a $15000 Gift! Whats most amazing about this story is that these people did something that most Americans would never dream of doing. Driving all the way down South America with a nice Tacoma and Camper combo, sporting nice cloths, and having a bunch of nice stuff inside. Then camping randomly throughout the countryside where convenient, through cocaine infested areas, like Cusco Peru. It must have been exhilarating knowing that you may or may not be killed at any given moment by gangs of the poor who struggle daily to survive, and see you and your things as easy money to survive on. The travelers were most likely too busy being concerned about where the next good climbing route will be, or best beach camping ahead, or that deep pow line they were going to hit in a few months. They had to have seen this coming and known about what could happen on such a trip in hostile areas, right?? Isn’t this why they wanted donations along the way? Customers payed this website to see the violence and drama that was almost bound to unfold on a such dangerous journey through very hostile areas. The violence occurred, and the crowd is apparently happy with the tone of 20 grand donated in 4 days! At least I hope that’s what people were donating money to see, and not actually interested in paying others to have fun, cause anyone who has enough spare cash to fund journey’s like this really needs to help me get to Alaska this winter!!!! I will ride truly gnarly, TR and JJ style spines, and you will love watching me ride on your dime viewed from your 3D TV! Oh, if I get hurt I have no health insurance, so you might need to help me out there as well, but I will be hurt so it will make you feel better to help me!! My website will be [email protected] I am thinking around 15K should cover my initial gear/planeticket/hotel stays, and another 20K will be raised for heli-rides and food, hopefully I can get that by the end of April! This will be great, I promise! Thanks for your help!!!!!!!!!:):):) :)
jhole yeast infection

Sounds like ” a million pieces” and/or “three cups of tea” ….a bunch of bologna. AGAIN…….photos?? Prove all the negative comments wrong. Seems simple…..right family and friends of these people? Also, if you are not asking for money….give it back. Seems simple.
Just asking

please consider another perspective, too: http://chichalimona.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-really-happened-in-ocongate.html
Amanda

@Amanda that is a good piece on the incident, let me repost http://chichalimona.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-really-happened-in-ocongate.html
mg

interesting. The crowdtilt fund now only says 4,600 dollars. Did people retract their donations, or did they somehow make it look like they have received less donations? https://www.crowdtilt.com/campaigns/peru-fund-help-jenny-meghan-and-jed
JR

JR If you would have read about the crowdtilt page, you can read that the page was closed down so they could transfer the funds. It was then reopened. And for all you haters you are asses and scumbag humans. I hope you get put in the same situation…and get no help
Travis

It turns out the other side is that they were tresspassing, never asked permission. When villagers approached them to determine what was going on the Americans started the violence by pushing the villagers out of the way, almost ran over one, pepper sprayed them, then drove up a dead end road. Villagers places rocks across the road to stop their return. The Americans crashed over this barrier at high speed. They threw rocks at the truck, but the Americans didn’t seem to clue in they should stop and behave properly in someone else’s country. Larger boulders were placed on the road, the Americans approached this at high speed and at the last minute drove off the road and crashed causing injuries to the Americans. So now we have violence against the villagers, a car crash hence property damage and injured passengers. They were taken to the village, the National Police were called and they were asked to fill a report about what happened. The Americans claim they were “forced off the road” – untrue, they chose to drive off road. They claim injuries by the villagers, untrue, it was a car crash that did that. No guns were used, unlike the exaggerated story being told. They claim they were somhow intimidatated into signing a false report, when in fact the report was quite true, they crashed their truck and were injured.
expatperu

expat, where are you getting that info from? i would love a source!
Amanda

That makes a hell of a lot more sense Expatperu – Thanks for your comments
john

By the third paragraph of Wolfram’s account, it was screaming scam. How, pray tell, does one throw a rock, any rock, with such force that it can penetrate the safety glass of a Toyota’s side window to break it and strike an occupant? On both sides? ‘Nuff said.
Pure Sceptic

Hi Amanada, in answer, it is from the gringo network here in Peru.
expatperu

You’ve got to commend these people into conning stupid people into paying for their expenses. Shows how the majority believes about anything. I could see this being felony fraud. Peru should hold them until this is straightened out.
Something stinks

I understand that, expat, but do you have an actual source for the version you posted? Has Pallca’s side of the story been published somewhere in Peru? Someone desperately needs to start publishing the other sides of this story.
Amanda

Travis, man, what is wrong with you. your defense of them is that they closed down a bloated account so they could suck off the money…and knowing they would want another feeding they opened it again..and the people who question this are the scumbags? these 3 loser/liars see the world as their nipple. feed me and let me crap out lies. you guys deserve one another.
maw maw

I’m going to guess the truth lies somewhere in between the 2 versions…as it usually does.
setsufree

Peru definitely can be dangerous, many people in the Amazon have been attacked and robbed this year – On the highway from Lima to the south, buses are stopped by armed gangs on the highway, robbing everyone and one time raping a young woman in front of everyone. In Lima (Callao) they have found bodies burned to cinders and body parts in suitcases. Robberies with guns are common and people being robbed in taxis by gun point is also common. Kidnapping can be a favorite pastime of residents of some of the smaller pueblos.. some people are kidnapped and forced to retrieve money from their bank machine until drained.. Definitely would not want to be in that situation or any other! I hope they catch the gang of thieves.
seen_it_read_it_heard_it

alright, let’s follow the above thought….and nothing like that happened to these people. don’t you think they would have been whining about “they made me withdraw money”. no, they are so sure these poor villagers wouldnt even use the cards they supposedly stole that these world travelers feel perfectly safe to solicit for even more money. kidnapped?the villagers couldn’t wait to get rid of these people, into the arms of the police according to the three stooges. the victims here are the villagers, who were minding their own business before this trio of thrill seekers showed up, on who knows what, and acted stupid. so don’t compare their exaggerated, embellished story with legitimate kidnapped, burned bodies, guns etc that can happen. no body here..just a body of lies and a brand new computer their too rich friends supplied them. make your next deposit to the villagers so they can put up a fence to keep creeps like this out. dt
dt

Central and South America certainly have their dangers for travelers such as these. But nothing as contrived and fabricated as this account would leave one to believe. These people are scammers, plain and simple. They have even managed to work in such a way that their family members seem to have no clue. But there account reads like any other that would be quickly discounted by any law enforcement with a modicum of sense. Laughable. My guess is that they were drunk and/or stoned, wrecked their vehicle and then created a situation that got out of control, but never escalated to the level they claim.
Ed

I agree, thank you expatperu for the analogy! Most people who live in Teton County realize it is still legal here to shot a trespasser right? A good example of this is that guy in Rafter J a few years back who shot his moms boyfriend, if I recall right he shot the dude twice on two separate instances! You also see lot’s of people in our community open carrying. I got friends who dogs have been shot and killed because it was chasing wildlife on somebodies property. So yeah, still the wild west around here too and I am sure some people from other countries would be shocked at how we do things here.
Ian

FAKE…..obviously staged by planetjh to gain readership…it probably only cost them twenty bucks to hire peruvians to attack the tourists. Now they are enjoying the biggest readership ever…good investment I’ld say. C’mon they had to do something after the lukewarm reception of the bank robbery…
22

Uh, 22, this was national news before we broke it locally. Sorry to ruin your fantasy.
mg

The picture says it all. These folks wouldn’t last one day in South-Central LA.
TrustBuster

Your going to have to come up with a better defense then that Mary Grossman.
22

Shouldn’t their family be able to afford to fly them home. End of story…. list of money lost? SCAM!
Yahs

They received over $15,000 in donations—-ummm, I think that ought to do it. Gathering support for medical bills and emergency travel is one thing, but i can’t buy you a new iphone 5. sorry. We’re trying to make ends meet ourselves -I’m also assuming these folks have some family financial support as well.
now the dust has settled

Reality check…You may have to leave the truck in S America— I donated a little money but I’m hoping the $ goes to medical expenses—not trying to recover lost material goods.
really?

Can the family give us an update ? Where is the money going? When are they coming home?
Honestly Curious

Medical costs are quite low here in Peru. Ambulance, clinic visit, stitches, medicines should’t be more then a few hundred dollars. Trauma counselling is quite inexpensive as well.
expatperu

“can the family give us an update”? honestly curious, cut me a break. that family is either in on this or so clueless that only someone dumb enough to donate to the peruvian losers fund would believe them. trustbuster and ed and no way jose and the others who have seen through this nonesense are the only ones any of us should believe. there’s a story here..but it is not what the 3 amigos have been spreading. expect rapid changes in facts now that they know people are crying for them…crying because we have laughed so hard. hey, 3 amigos, use your 3 still working thumbs to hitchhike out of there. see you on the slopes. skiman
ski man

ski man- get a life bro
Just Curious

Just checked with a frind near Cusco. Ambulances are free and gringos recieve preferencial and often free medical services. For a sense of costs, she recently went to clinic for stitches, it cost her total S/.80 (about $30) for the consult and medical work.
expatperu

from their blog: They didn’t want to ask us any questions. They just wanted to fill out the paper work so they could get back to their front porch sitting. The hardest part was breaking up the afternoon soccer game to get the police officer to come check us in. We liked Peru’s work ethics already! Says it all, doesn’t it?
duh

Listen: Jed, Jenny & Kristi, do *not* go on the Today Show, you’ll get slaughtered. Whoever is advising you or contacted a producer there is an idiot. I’ve read the story, I’ve read the blog, I’ve read the comments – I don’t need to know you to know that you have serious credibility issues. As an insider, my advice is do not pursue media attention – you’ll get deep sixed on air and look like drunken, dumb Americans with the whole country of Peru wanting a piece of you. Go back to JH, lay low, and start paying your friends back.
Eton Gra

Who in their right mind gives people like this money? Evidently there are a ton of crazy people out there. I vote go on the today show. I will make sure I am watching so I can see your pathetic ass’s on TV and know your faces well when I see you around town. Actually, can’t you please just go back home to the east coast?? Pretty please????
WTF

Your not Jackson Hole locals. Really, not many here are. Your east coast wanna be’s destroying the West. It gets old for those of us whose families escaped the East coast over a century ago. I remember before pow skiing and fly fishing were big, when you told someone you were from WY they felt sorry for you. Now say how rad it is. Ah, how times have changed the last fifteen years….
go home

I know somebody who stayed 4 days in a hospital in Panama, it cost them under $100. That is typical in most Latin Countries.
Al

So, what would happen if a non English speaking, Hispanic person (kind of like what this group was in Peru, the opposite of the majority) pulled up and started camping on someone in JH’s property? The owner asks them who they are, what they are doing, there is a communication barrier, the campers are not cooperative, will not show ID? Well most likely, the JH residents would call the cops. Since this village did not have police readily available, they called the villagers, or their security team.. Whatever you want to call them. So the “police” show up, and the “outsiders” take off. The police would chase them! They might try to shoot out the tires, or run them off the road. What if they sprayed “police” with pepper spray in the USA? That might get you shot! It a tragic incident of miss communication, but it is obvious that the village people were not being brutal and aggressive for no reason. They could have easily killed these tourists, and got rid of the evidence and nobody would have even know where to look. They let them go. HEY JED, JENNY AND MEGHAN, MAN UP AND TAKE YOUR SHARE OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAPPENED AND GIVE YOUR FRIENDS THEIR MONEY BACK WHILE YOU STILL HAVE FRIENDS! If there is more to this story than we are hearing that, then put your money where your mouth is, and TELL THE TRUTH!
donor

Here s a post written by a fellow expat living here in Peru about his incident: “The Comercio article says they were confused with abigeos (cattle thieves) though it doesn’t say where that info comes from. Cattle theft was an increasing problem when I worked in the Andahuayals/Ayacucho region in the first part of the last decade. In a typical district where I worked about half of the animals would be owned by a small number richer families. Most of their wealth was in their cattle from which they keep their relatively higher earnings (still low by US/European standards) so they are very keen to guard their assets. The other half of the animals would be owned by a great many poorer people. The loss of their animals (they may only have three or four animals) can result in a complete loss of revenue and destitution for their families. People would come in trucks from towns/cities and steal large numbers of cattle in one night. It was a major problem and would excite massive passions in people. The police were pretty useless to deal with this as typically you would have say two policemen covering a massive area. They would see the problem as something they couldn’t possibly deal with. So villagers would take it on themselves to defend themselves. Whilst I was there the government was actually encouraging them to buy guns for their guards. In smaller communities where police would not be present and would seldom visit the local authorities (campezino groups including presidente etc) would see themselves as the de facto law enforcement authority and would see it as their right to ask outsiders for ID documents.”
expatperu

Ms Jennofer states: “We were not arrogant about not giving them our documents. We explained to them that we don´t show nonofficial police our documents. It is a well-known rule of travel that you do not just pass your documents around to just anyone.” This is quite untrue. In Peru you are constantly showing your ID, especially when travelling around. The suggestion that a bunch of villager thieves would ask you for your documents before robbing you is ludicrous.
expatperu

come on expat, she was in country for all of 5 days. she knows what she is talking about!
john

My best wishes for any injured parties. It’s never fun to get in a bad way in another country.
Peter

Yeah, 5 days, but her buddies more travel time. Really, what arrogance. “We don’t show non-official police our documents” and “we refused to show our documents because they weren’t Policia”. Since when did she get the right to make up the rules in someone else’s country? NOT. “Its a well rule of travel you don’t just pass your documents to anyone”. Since when? No such rule, quite the opposite. I travel. I give my documents, or at least a copy, to anyone who asks – the bank to change money, the hotel for a room, a ticket agent to buy a passage, none of these are police. And yes, to the authorities in a small village. They are the cause of their own misfortune by being so arrogant. Had they shown a copy of their passport at the time instead of fleeing like they had something to hide, none of this would have happened. And then the Rambo like behavior, in someone else’s country, crash your truck, get injured and then say they were FORCED to crash the truck and it was the villagers’ fault and they attacked you and beat you. “It very much seemed like a planned organized attack with each of the villagers blowing whistles signaling other villagers to come out and join the chase.” Planned? Organized attack? There would have been no chase had you just shown a copy of your documents and explained why you were there instead of being arrogant, inciting violence, pushing people aside, pepper spraying them in their own country. And here is a hint in case you say you had fear – if someone is going to rob you they don’t not ask for your identification first. If someone plans to throw rocks at you, beat you, torture you, and hit you with whips, in a planned organized attack, they rarely ask for your identification first. Sorry for my anger, but these irresponsible kids really should speak up and set the record straight and apologize to Peru for their insensitivity. It is great place not deserving of being maligned.
expatperu

right on expat!
Willy

Peruvians never steal, never assault, never act irrationally. American tourists always lie. Fascinating to see the amount of attention this gets. Victimaphobia (fear of those who are victimized) is alive and well.
22

Sounds like a Coke deal gone bad in my eyes. I mean Cmon, Jackson kids hanging out around Cusco on vacation? COKE. Yeah, its around Jackson pretty hard, the East Coasters seem to love it.
COke war

Anyone thinking they are in jail right now? false police reports, DUI, wreckless driving? they would be in jail in The States. And what happened to the many supposed family members? They disappeared at the same time bloggers did…lol carlos
carlos

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Great comments, great story. Typical Jackson response.
LOVE IT ALL

Though I’ve been abroad for a while, I grew up in Jackson so this story went viral on my Facebook newsfeed within a day. There are so many comments here it seems silly to add to it. But I did want to put it out there that mob violence and public lynchings (in the US affiliated with the KKK, but in the rest of the world is merely mob executed justice) are actually quite common in Latin America and in Peru and Bolivia in particular. This is most common in impoverished areas that feel disenfranchised with the state and a general lack of law enforcement. Essentially, where the state fails to provide security, locals who feel under seige by crime tend to band together and deal with their issues summarily… in often a very reactionary mob manner. This is particularly true in indigenous communities where the people are ethnically margninalized, often denied state services and sceptical of law enforcement. Unfortunately most of the victims of lynchings are merely petty thieves who sometimes lose their lives to mobs after simply stealing a cellphone. This is a well documented phenomenon and I would recommend reading up on vigilante justice and mob lynchings in Latin America. I personally saw a lynching while living in Nairobi and can attest to the raw power of this sort of mob violence. That said, it is hard to decifer exactly what the provocation was here. When mob mentality rules it doesn’t take much to work a group into a violent frenzy, but this sort of mob violence is rarely directed at (white) tourists. I do believe that this could have happened, but I’m not sure that we’re getting the full story as to what exactly provoked the mob. For now it would be best to hold off on the character assasinations and wait for more comprehensive details.
Hilary

@Hilary, thank you for the insights. With all of the whistle blowing mentioned by the travelers it seems to me that the local people have evolved a system that works for them when they or there property is under threat. Why the travelers didn’t carry copies of their identification to hand to those who requested it, or have been better educated on the areas they were traveling to, I don’t know. And it is obvious that we are not getting the whole story, but more one that is skewed towards that of the frightened victim. For as much as it is easy to judge I think it is still going to be a long time until the whole story shakes out, and until we get a better idea of exactly what tipped off the villagers or what happens to the money that was donated to the travelers I think its a good idea to reserve anonymous judgement and maybe just let this be a lesson to other casual travelers who go out to do their research and be prepared for all eventualities. IE carry copies of ID, have a small reserve of contingency money that is not with you, get travelers insurance, do your FULL research on the exact areas that you are traveling to, be accommodating…. I think you get the idea. For as much as it is easy to say that these people made some enormously poor judgement calls, I also have empathy for those who face injury and opposition while traveling. So those who are inclined to post on this thread nothing more than judgements that are poorly formed, I ask that you leave the posting to those who can provide more valuable insight and/or actual news and facts regarding this particular situation. Thanks again to Hilary, expat, etc who have been providing such insights instead of perpetuating blind hatred.
Jenny G.

perpetuating blind hatred? a little dramatic aren’t we? Folks are just offering their opinions on what amounts to fraud and lies. Why don’t you so the same – but save us the judgemental control freak talk that is disguised a pseudo diplomacy.
willis

@willis, was more referring to the blatant swearing that is going on in a lot of the above posts but I am super appreciative because you just made 2 of my points for me in your post. Thanks again @willis!
Jenny G.

“our medical bills and money spent on prescriptions as well as taxi cab travel and hotel bills are growing.” and “costs in Lima” they say. Let me help with the accounting. I have not been in Cuzco recently, (the costs there are typically a few dollars higher given its tourist destination status) but where I live taxis are abundant and cost about $1 for anywhere in my small city, mototaxis less. Hospital visits $30. Prescriptions are significantly less than in the USA, a course of 7-day antibiotics about $10. My favorite hotel in Lima costs $17 for room with private bath, flat screen TV with cable, all spotlessly clean and sheets changed daily. A taxi from Miraflores to the US Embassy about $2. Dental work is more. I recently had a bridge made for 4 front and 2 back teeth. Including dental visits for molds, lab work, test fitting, lab work for finalization, final fitting, all of equal top quality to USA by an English-speaking Miami-trained dentist cost me $300 and completed in two days. Food: “American”breakfasts cost $2. Lunch specials (soup/salad, main course, desert and juice) $3, dinner (salad, large steak, fires, refreshment) $10. If you eat great Peruvian food costs are less. They also mentioned some difficulty arranging the flight Cuzco to Lima. There are 17 flights daily just by LAN on that route, LAN office is downtown Cuzco so you can just walk there. Current price for a one-way last minute ticket is $171 plus $30 for using the office to buy the ticket (online purchases are free). If this is too expensive Star Peru and Peruvian have cheaper fares. They can fly without a passport if they have a police denuncia. Current price for a one-way last minute flight from Lima to west coast USA is less than $800 (though I did see a fare for $477). You can do the math, but they should be getting a wee bit of change from the $15000 donated. Oh, no, correction, they closed the account in order to be able to access the $15000 and then reopened it asking for more money and it is now $20000. So, I stand corrected, they should get some nice pocket change from the $20000.
expatperu

guys, there are two accounts. There was a paypal as well with about 4000 in it. so where are these guys? are they in custody down there for wreckless driving and DUI? where are all the supposed family and friends that were posting up a storm a week ago? 25,000 dollar money grab on a dishonest story and then they disappear for a week now? Yet they were able to buy a computer and blog the day after 24 hours of torture?
jim

expat, thank you for all your responses. You really break all this down into reality.
Thank expat

So where exactly did they ask you, expat, for money?
lumpy

Cusco police opening an investigation. Have truck, no tourists. http://www.radiouniversalcusco.com.pe/noticias/7530-policia-inicia-investigaciones-por-presunta-agresion-fisica-a-turistas-norteamericanos-en-el-distrito-de-ocongate-provincia-de-quispicanchi
northborder

http://www.radiouniversalcusco.com.pe/noticias/ It says (please excuse my translation): Yesterday morning the truck…was taken to the city of Cusco from Ocongate… to initiate investigations of a possible assault to American tourists and damage to motorized vehicle. Among the first steps, the forensic experts of the National Police began investigating in order to clarify what happened on December 29, 2012 and who is responsible. However, the complaint by the American tourists is not properly clear, much less if they are still in the country. It may be recalled that an international blog, Jennifer W Lynee said that villagers in the town of Ocongate Quispicanchi province assaulted them and damaged the vehicle…On the other hand, there is nothing official known until police investigations are completed. Meanwhile, the representative of the United States Consulate in Cusco, has not commented on the matter. And more recently, this article on January 9: http://www.radiouniversalcusco.com.pe/noticias/7541-entidades-estatales-y-privadas-asumiran-gastos-de-reparacion-de-vehiculo-de-norteamericanos-atacado-por-comuneros-de-ocongate Police responsible for conducting investigations and the vehicle owned by American tourists who were allegedly attack from commoners in Ocongate, moved the vehicle to a repair shop for repairs. The costs will be borne by private and government entities in order to compensate American tourists for at least damage to the vehicle. After repairs, the vehicle will be delivered to their owners by management of the embassy of the United States. However, it is not known the correlation of the tourists injuries and the truth about how it happened. The authorities of the National Police and the Attorney General of the province Quispicanchi are being quite tight-lipped.
expatperu

Expatperu- you have one sad life. Go back to Peru- you belong there
Expat needs a life

Update from the gringo network here in Peru, what is being said, all unconfirmed: The police in Cusco have not charged any villager, this is a fact. Unofficially, they have no plans to charge any of them with anything. They do not believe there was an organized plan to abduct or beat or rob the American tourists. Most of the injuries resulted from the truck crash. Officially they are giving the “no comment until we finish investigations” line awaiting for things to cool down and go away. However, there is strong suspicion that a few individual villagers who had been pushed and/or pepper sprayed by the Americans may well have retaliated individually. Someone with a friend in the US Embassy reports that their version is that the kids, possibly emboldened by a few drinks, acted like idiots and got themselves into trouble (hence the “no comment” officially). They do no believe the villagers organized to beat and rob the trio. Embassy staff provided some emergency assistance. Most if not all of the injuries were caused by the car crash. The truck (still with some gear inside) is being repaired partly by funds from the Cusco tourist government agency. Someone who talked to a couple of European backpackers in Cuzco who were partying with them, state that, well, they were partying with them after the incident and the male American was boosting about “scoring” so much money and how they will teach those villagers who not to mess with. All unconfirmed, all just from the gossip networks here.
expatperu

Sad that Peru has to spend money fixing some spoiled American kid’s truck when there are so many in need in their own country. Such is life, I guess.
wb

right, sad peruvians have to spend their money on this. what a waste of money … interesting news espatperu. stay on it.
followingfromsa

Why there are no pictures of the truck and the people after the incident? I understand that the original letter was written to authorities and perhaps does not include all that happened, don’t care about BS prices for the gear… But they need to come clean to the climbing community somehow because the story does not add up.
om

http://www.drivetheamericas.com/wiki/meg-and-jed

Frank

Yes, there are poor Peruvians who could use the help. But its a right hand – left hand thing. The other hand is that tourism is important to Peru in general so the tourist agency might be thinking that by helping the Americans will have a chance to say, when telling their story, that no matter how badly they were treated during the incident at least they were treated well afterward. A little bit of balance to mitigate the damage. In fact, since the bad part of the story did make a splash, a responsible thing would be for the Americans now to close the loop and report the outcomes, how it ended, how they were helped etc., something positive to balance the negative image they created – for the sake of their Peruvian hosts?
expatperu

That would require accounting for all the money given to them, and if Peru is fixing their truck.. well, sounds like these guys got paid pretty well for their incident..
ht


About Jake Nichols

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