A Virginia couple is mourning the death of their daughter after learning that her body was found in disaster-ravaged Japan, where she had been teaching English. Taylor Anderson, 24, could be the first known American victim in the Japan disaster as authorities continue the daunting task of finding and identifying almost 13,000 people believed to be missing.
Anderson’s family said in a statement that the U.S. Embassy in Japan called them Monday to tell them she was found in Ishinomaki, a city about 240 miles (390 kilometers) north of Tokyo. Officials with U.S. Embassy in Japan and the State Department could not immediately confirm whether she was the first known U.S. victim in Japan. Another 25-year-old man is presumed dead after being swept into the ocean March 11 by a swell from the tsunami on the northern California coast.
Jean Anderson said her daughter was last seen after the earthquake riding her bike away from an Ishinomaki elementary school after making sure parents picked up their children. A tsunami struck shortly after the earthquake, completely wiping out homes and other structures. Friends and relatives used Facebook and other social networks to spread the word about the search for Taylor. Officials first told the family last Tuesday that their daughter had been located, but the Andersons learned that night that the information was incorrect.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Anderson family.