Find Hannah Upp
Hannah Upp, a beloved Montessori teacher, daughter, sister, and friend, has been missing since September 14, 2017, from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. She disappeared between the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria. We have been looking for her since.
This campaign, initiated by Hannah’s mother, Barbara, and supported by loving family and friends, is to pay for the services of a professional private investigator to continue the search for Hannah. We have now exhausted the resources of the Virgin Islands Police Department, Search and Rescue, the Coast Guard, and the FBI. We are working to expand the investigation-- our best hope in the long run for locating Hannah.
All funds raised will go directly to this search. Thank you for considering your support. We are grateful for all donations of any size.
To stay updated on Facebook, please follow the Find Hannah Upp Facebook page .
Please see below for more information about Hannah, the search, the fundraiser, the timing, and how to donate offline.
Hannah Upp is a beloved Montessori teacher, daughter, sister, and friend who has lived in the US Virgin Islands since 2014. She suffers from medically rare Dissociative Fugues, infrequent episodes that result in long periods of amnesia. In two previous fugues, she forgot her identity and went missing but was eventually found.
Hannah went missing from Sapphire Beach in the East End of St. Thomas during the chaos between the unprecedented double damage of the two Category Five hurricanes, now referred to as Irmaria. Despite concentrated efforts from many and widespread support and awareness, Hannah still has not been found.
For more information about Hannah's story, please see this April 2018 New Yorker article by Rachel Aviv.
Having exhausted the resources of the Virgin Islands Police Department, Search and Rescue, the Coast Guard, and the FBI, exploring wider possibilities is essential. We are keenly aware that in the chaos of last September’s storms and devastation, many scenarios are possible.
We are working to expand the investigation-- our best hope in the long run for locating Hannah. This means casting a net even more widely, which requires increased and sustained professional support. We need to be able to support these broader resources we have sought and secured moving forward.
As the year mark approaches in September, we have no way of knowing the length of time Hannah’s condition and journey may fill. We are in this for the long haul.
WHAT YOUR CONTRIBUTION PAYS FOR
Itemized estimates for the $34,000 goal:
· Private investigative firm fees (estimated at $20,000)
· Expert forensic research $1500
· Administrative, technological, and organizational support $2500
· Legal fees $2500
· Printing and copying $4000
· Publicity and media $800
· Travel $2700
Should we be able to raise more than the goal, this would free up funds to be used for emerging investigative and travel needs we cannot predict at this time, as we do not know in which direction the search will lead.
For a full accounting of funds raised and used, please contact the fundraising bookkeeper, Julie Baber, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are more than welcome to donate offline by check. Please make all checks payable to Barbara Bellus and mail them to:
C/o Julie Baber
4605 Tutu Park Mall
Suite 133 Box 586
St. Thomas, VI 00802
WHO IS JULIE BABER?
Hello Hannah's supporters! My name is Julie Baber. I am a friend of Hannah's, and we worked at the VI Montessori School together. I currently live in the USVI. Barbara, Hannah's mother, has asked me to create and run this fundraiser since my background is in Development and Bookkeeping for non-profits. GoFundMe will be withdrawing the funds directly to Barbara's bank account, and both Barbara and I will oversee the bookkeeping for transparency. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping Barbara, and Hannah's friends, in this search.
Thank you all for your prayers, kind thoughts, and help in this search. Please take a moment to share this fundraiser with your friends and family. If you would like to print and distribute Hannah's missing poster, please click here.
There has been a change in the date for the documentary on Hannah, "Vanished in Paradise: The Untold Story." It is now scheduled for May 16th at 9pm EST and PST on A&E, but do check your local listings. We will let you know if there are any further changes.
As always, thank you all so much for your love and support.
We want to let you know about the upcoming air date and time for an hour-long documentary produced by ABC about Hannah and the ongoing search for her. We worked with the Lincoln Square Productions team in extensive interviews, including filming on site in Saint Thomas, in the hope that wider knowledge about Hannah’s situation would increase awareness and could reach someone who might have some knowledge about her whereabouts.
The program is currently scheduled to be aired on the Arts and Entertainment (A&E) network on Thursday night, May 9. It will be at 9 pm Eastern and Pacific time. We do not know the time for Central or Mountain yet, and it is possible that there may be some variation in date and time due to cable company variations. You may need to check your local listings for A&E in your area.
The title of the documentary is: “Vanished in Paradise: The Untold Story"
Description: "Elizabeth Vargas explores the mysterious disappearance of Hannah Upp, a 32 year old teacher from Oregon, who vanished in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017 in the time between two category five hurricanes. Having previously been diagnosed with dissociative fugue, those closest to her believe her disappearance follows a pattern and that she may still be alive. Vargas will help retrace Upp's last known steps by sifting through clues from her past as well as speaking with Upp’s mother, friends and law enforcement who are still searching for her.” It will also include a discussion with Dr. David Speigel at Stanford University, who is described as the preeminent expert in the field of dissociative fugue.
We would like to ask for your help in spreading the word about this program, if you feel comfortable to do so. We are not doing this for publicity purposes but simply in the hopes of continuing to create awareness and reaching a wider audience. We want you all to know that we struggled with the decision of whether or not to support and contribute to this documentary at all. Eventually, there were two key factors that led us to make the choice to do so. One, a program was probably going to be made whether we contributed or not, and we desired to do what we could to ensure that the information presented in the program was factually correct to the best of our knowledge. Two, if Hannah is still out there somewhere, we never know what unexpected connection may lead us to a clue to locating her again. All it would take is for one person to see the program and recognize her. True, there may be some erroneous reports as well, but we feel that it is worth the trouble to sift through them if it gives us a chance to locate Hannah.
We should also mention that while we have contributed to the documentary, we do not have any creative control over the end product, nor will we have the opportunity to preview it before it airs. We are admittedly nervous about this, but are hoping and praying that the overall message of the program is accurate and consistent with our mutually expressed desires to help find Hannah without descending into sensationalism.
In case you do not have these links and would like to share them, the Facebook group dedicated to finding Hannah is https://www.facebook.com/FindHannahUppUSVI. Any updates or developments will be posted here, and it is the primary resource hub to find products such as fliers or to leave a message for the organizers. Additionally, the link to the GoFundMe that is raising funds to keep the search going is https://www.gofundme.com/findhannahupp.
Thank you so much for your love and support for Hannah and the ongoing search. The circle of friends and family who miss her is still wide and strong, and each link matters. We take hope from the connections that continue and all who join us in reaching out to find Hannah. We appreciate what each one of you do to express in your own way your deep care and prayer.
It means a great deal to us,
Barbara Bellus & Dan Upp
I continue to be amazed and deeply grateful for the resources generously provided that have allowed Team Hannah to have the means to operate in a wider and deeper mode. Thank you for your gifts that make a widening search possible.
Steve Wagner has been on board as Private Investigator for a few months: he has been active on a number of investigative fronts, technical and travel, and is responding quickly following up on leads from a far flung array of possible sightings. I am glad of the network of contacts he has to get boots on the ground wherever we need them. He has the range of contacts and swiftness of response to effectively follow up on any information that comes our way.
The trip to Puerto Rico was quick but fruitful, spreading the word about Hannah through direct contact with San Juan Montessori school and training center, who are sharing flyers and info with Montessori schools throughout Puerto Rico. My guide and escort Robert Sepulveda was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and continues to spread the word to colleagues in the police and maritime communities. We spent time in Fajardo, where any Mercy ships from Saint Thomas would have arrived between the Hurricanes in September 2017. The trip was made possible by Go Fund Me resources: I am mindful of the wider reach the gifts of these funds make possible.
Team Hannah is on the move: we are in immediate need of further funds to meet our goal, in order to keep the momentum going and support the search on several fronts, and continue to respond with alacrity to leads.
I am in Oregon now, reconnecting with my home community and catching my breath. The ten months in St Thomas were remarkable in many ways, and the current efforts of the committed team on the islands make it possible for me to have a time of rest and renewal, and to travel to spend time with my son Dan and his family. I am in connection with the search and ready to respond to any leads as needed.
Thank you for your generosity, and for continuing to give to support the ongoing search efforts,
I want to express to you all our deep appreciation for the amazing and generous gifts that have made it possible to move the search for Hannah ahead in these last few weeks, and going forward.
The Go Fund Me campaign is significantly supporting deeper more intensive and broader efforts, making steps possible with these precious resources we would not be able to carry out otherwise. Thank You!
We are on the way, and we continue to need financial support to sustain and expand the search. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do in your prayer and love and gifts.
Every donation matters: your support
is critical in all dimensions of encouraging and sustaining the ongoing search.
Peace, and Hope,