Former student went missing in Japan

By Rachel Hanson, Editor in Chief

Craig Arnold, a former U student who went missing April 27 while hiking in Japan, is believed to have died after falling from a high cliff.

“The only relief in this news is that we do know exactly what befell Craig, and we can be fairly certain that it was very quick, and that he did not wait or wonder or suffer,” said Rebecca Lindenberg, Arnold’s partner and a U professor, in a statement on Facebook.

Arnold, who earned his doctoral degree from the U and was an English professor at the University of Wyoming, was researching volcanoes on the island of Kuchinoerabujima for a new poetry and essay book. He was in Japan through the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission’s Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship.

Arnold went for a hike up the volcano around mid-afternoon Monday, shortly after arriving at the island by ferry and checking in at an inn, according to his brother, Chris Arnold, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

When Arnold hadn’t returned by 8 p.m., the inn staff went looking for him. They reported him missing at 9 p.m., and a formal search began that night.

Forty people, dogs and a helicopter joined the following day’s search. Police reported finding Arnold’s tracks on a trail up the volcano, but they couldn’t find any tracks coming down.

A Facebook group called “Find Craig Arnold” was formed last week. The group provided information about The Fund to Find Craig Arnold, which raised money to hire an independent search-and-rescue team 1st Special Response Group. 1SRG took over the search after Japanese authorities called off the official search Tuesday.

The Facebook group also encouraged members to contact representatives and senators and ask for their assistance in contacting the consulate in Fukuoka, Japan.

University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan said in a release that he credits Wyoming’s congressional delegation, Sen. Mike Enzi, Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, for lengthening the search.

“Sens. Barrasso and Enzi and Rep. Lummis responded quickly last week to our requests for assistance,” he said. “Since that time, they have continued to monitor the situation through the State Department and have assessed and acted on all avenues of support. I know the search would not have continued as long as it did without the help of the delegation. I’m extremely grateful they were able to take quick action and advocate for Craig when we shared the news of his disappearance.”

Ann Hudson graduated from the U in 1994 with a Master of Fine Arts and studied in the English department at the same time as Arnold, but did not keep in touch with him except for occasional e-mails. She first learned of his disappearance through Facebook.

“Facebook has been remarkable in this situation,” said Hudson, a writer and stay-at-home mother who lives in Chicago. “It’s not only in kept people informed, but pulled people together for emotional support.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

First posted 7:14 p.m.

Updated 8:08 p.m.

The Associated Press

In this Oct. 4, 2004 photo, the volcanic island of Kuchinoerabu-jima, about 30 miles off the coast of Japan’s southern Kyushu island, is shown. American poet and University of Wyoming professor Craig Arnold, 41, was reported missing April 27 when he didn’t return from his hike on the island.