Ten days ago, Emilee Irsik went on a secret trip to Germany during a break in classes at Emporia State University.
Her family hasn’t heard from her since.
Irsik, a 20-year-old junior at Emporia State, was supposed to return to her hometown of Wichita on Friday. But she wasn’t on the flight.
“While it was very out of character for her to have made this trip in such a secretive nature, it’s very unlike her even more so to not return when she had scheduled herself to come back,” her mother, Sherry, said from her home in North Carolina.
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Emilee, who graduated from Goddard High School in 2010, is studying German at Emporia State. She wanted to study in Germany for a semester, her mother said, and applied to be accepted at three different universities: Trier, Hannover and Bielefeld. In August, she talked about taking a trip to Germany to “get the lay of the land,” Sherry Irsik said.
Her parents talked her out of it, saying she didn’t have time before fall classes began and she should use that money for her education.
“It was a normal conversation,” Sherry Irsik said. “She didn’t throw a fit.”
Clearly, however, she didn’t let go of the idea.
“Obviously, she decided it was really important to her to do this,” Sherry Irsik said. “Why she thought she could be gone a week and nobody would ever wonder where she was, I don’t know.”
Irsik had no idea her daughter had flown to Germany. When she called and got no answer on Oct. 21, she figured Emilee was with her boyfriend.
“He is as clueless as everybody else” about where she might be, Sherry Irsik said. “We haven’t found anyone who can say they had an inkling” she was going to take this trip.
According to information posted on Facebook, Emilee flew alone from Wichita to Dallas and then to London on Oct. 19. She flew to Hamburg the next day. She did not board the return flight from Hamburg to London on Oct. 26 and has not booked a return flight, her mother said.
Gwen Larson, assistant director for media relations at Emporia State, said there is no information at this point that Emilee is the victim of foul play.
“I do know she is studying German with us, but this was not any sort of university travel,” Larson said.
The lack of evidence suggesting a crime is a good news-bad news scenario, Sherry Irsik said. Lacking such evidence, a court denied a request from the Emporia State police department to be granted access to her e-mail account.
There may be e-mails that could offer clues to where she’s staying and who she’s been in contact with, her mother said.
“Why do you have to have blood on your hands in order for you to get a search warrant for e-mail,” she asked.
Efforts to contact her daughter by cellphone, e-mail and Facebook have been unsuccessful. Police in Hamburg have been notified, and police departments around Germany have been alerted that Emilee is missing.
Anyone who has heard from her or has information about her trip is being asked to contact local law enforcement or the U.S. Department of State at 202-647-4000. They should then ask to be transferred to the duty officer in Berlin.
“They are understandably worried,” Larson said of Emilee’s family. “Taking it viral was a pretty good idea on their part.”
The Irsiks have reached out to Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran for help, and also contacted former congressman Todd Tiahrt.
“We are continuing to be very active and get the word out,” Sherry Irsik said.
The irony, she said, is that her daughter has been accepted to Trier – and may not even know it.