mud slide mexico 88.
(photo credit: )
Dana Rishpy's relatives are not quite sure what they will be doing to celebrate her 25th birthday this Saturday.
For years, the family has come together at their Haifa home to mark the youngest daughter's birthday. But this week, relatives are spread out across the globe, trying to track down any information that might explain why Dana disappeared more than a month ago from her cabana in Tulum, Mexico.
The last time Rishpy's parents heard from Dana was in an e-mail dated March 28. She wrote that she had arrived in Cancun and was planning to travel in the area for several weeks. Two days later, she headed for the Southeastern town of Tulum. She left her belongings with a fellow American backpacker named Mathew and went off to a party at a nightclub.
Her parents have heard accounts of all of this. They have even seen photos of Dana dancing in the club and listening to a drum show there. The last time anyone saw her was at 1:30 a.m. She had taken a water bottle and was preparing to leave the club with a young American-born male who had an apartment nearby.
"No one knows what happens next, and the police don't seem to be trying too hard to find out," said her sister, Dalit Rishpy-Tor. "Everything we have done to try and find her, we have done on our own. For the Mexican police it is just another young woman - just another name."
Rishpy-Tor said that her family had been petitioning the Mexican police to do more to investigate the circumstances surrounding her sister's disappearance. While they have been "overwhelmingly disappointed" with the local police efforts, they have been even more devastated by the Israeli police, said Rishpy-Tor.
" They have a whole department here that is supposed to deal with emergencies like this. But since my sister disappeared we have gotten nothing, no help whatsoever, not even a phone call from that so-called department," said Rishpy-Tor.
The Israeli consulate in Mexico has been extremely helpful, Rishpy-Tor said, but her family knows that it will take a real police investigation to get to the bottom of Dana's disappearance.
"We have been doing everything on our own, out of our own pocket. We have interviewed people, taken evidence, even sent out for DNA testing and other lab testing. These are things that the police should be doing," said Rishpy-Tor.
The family even managed to track down the car and home address of the young man with whom Rishpy was seen leaving the club. They passed the information along to police, but they say that the police responded by asking them, "What are we supposed to do about this?
"We don't know what to do next. We have asked everyone for help. We need help with this situationâ€¦ which could happen to anyone. We just don't know how to come to terms with it," said Rishpy-Tor.
Since Rishpy's disappearance, the family has aired radio and TV spots on local Mexican stations, in the hope that someone there would provide more information. They also created the Web site www.findana.com, with photos and potential leads. They ask that anyone with information or contacts in Mexico get in touch with them through that Web site.
There is no lack of footage of the vivacious Rishpy posted on the Web site. In photos, the slender, brown-haired, green-eyed Rishpy frolics on the beach in a bikini. On YouTube, a video-hosting Web site, there is a video that Rishpy created four months before she disappeared. In it, she is dancing and singing along to a song that she composed herself.
"A song for all the girls out there who are sick and tired of being nice to boys who just can't take a hint," Rishpy wrote as her description of the song. The homemade video shows her having pillow-fights on her bed, and wrestling with a pink blow-up shark in a pool.
Below the video are comments posted by people hoping for Rishpy's well-being. "She has the word 'alive' on her T-shirt, that's what it says," wrote user dardas47. "She is still missing."
"She is the type of the girl who will get anything into her head to do, and just do it," said Rishpy-Tor. "She would compose songs, and after the army she wanted to be an athlete so she got into runningâ€¦ Before going to Mexico she was traveling in the United States looking into schools there where she could study computer animation. She was so talented and diverse."
Most of all, said Rishpy-Tor, the family is worried that people will just "forget about it" and that they will never find out what happened to the "little baby of the family."
"We can't believe she won't be with us this Saturday," she said. "We just want her to be with us again."