Colombia search for missing Antiguan called off

Jonathan Phillips, a flight operations officer
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A reward has been offered by Colombian authorities for anyone who can locate the body or whereabouts of an Antigua man who went missing while vacationing with his aunt in the South American country.

On Wednesday the search was called off for Jonathan Phillips, a flight operations officer with LIAT airline who disappeared on Saturday while bathing in the Melcocho River, in the rural area of the municipality of Cocorná.
The body of his aunt, Carol Lewis, was recovered, however, Phillips has not been seen since being swept out to sea.

Family member Andrea Luke told OBSERVER media that the Colombian government has issued an unknown amount as reward for anyone who divulges information that could lead to the recovery of Phillips’ body or his whereabouts if he is still alive.

“Through the [U.S.] Embassy we were told that the Colombian government issued a local reward in the finding of Jonathan’s body. That was the communication we got. The reward wasn’t done through the U.S., it was done locally through Colombia,” Luke said.

Phillips and Lewis arrived in Columbia just one day before the tragedy.

Luke said that the Antigua and Barbuda government should insist that the government of Colombia to find Phillips, dead or alive.

“I don’t know who the Antiguan authority is communicating with but as a citizen of Antigua, the Antigua government should insist to Columbia that they need word and to not just sit and wait on Colombia to make the call to Antigua,” Luke said.

“They should be on their tail because he was there and he is still there. They need to find him, he is still there, he didn’t just vanish and from what we know it is like little rivers going into different constituencies and if they put enough manpower out Jonathan can be found,” Luke added.

OBSERVER media tried without success to contact foreign affairs minister, E.P. Chet Greene.

Authorities retrieved Lewis’s body from one of the main rivers of Cocorná, eastern Antioquia, but, there was no sign of Phillips up to last night.

Luke said the family is struggling to come to terms with Lewis’ death and they are anxiously awaiting the return of her body to the U.S. so that they can get some sort of closure.

“Not seeing the body is one thing, but, seeing it will bring a different effect for everybody. We are all trying to hold for now until she arrives on U.S. soil,” Luke said.