The owners of a kayak company have spoken up regarding the unusual behavior of the yoga group Nancy Ng was with when she went missing in Lake Atitlán in Guatemala last month.
Statement of the business owners: Lee and Elaine Beal, the owners of Kayak Guatemala, noted that Ng, 29, had arrived in a group of 10 on Oct. 19. Although all of them went kayaking on Lake Atitlán, only eight returned.
“When the group returned, there were only eight that returned, but we could see in the distance, a distance of about 100 yards, two single kayaks,” Lee told ABC7, noting that the two kayakers were Ng and another woman. “We watched them as they continued paddling until we lost sight of them.”
“I witnessed the survivor being ushered up the steps with the yoga instructor,” Elaine added. “She was clearly distressed, and they didn’t say a word to us. I just don’t understand that part of leaving within eight hours, 12 hours of the accident… It just seems more odd that as time passes and this person, the survivor, may have certainly seen the news and knows what is going on and has not, even now, disclosed any information.”
The owners claimed that the yoga group did not provide information about the incident and instead left their hotel about 12 hours later without paying for their rented kayaks.
Ng’s disappearance: Ng had traveled to the Central American country with a yoga group led by Eduardo (Eddy) Rimada on Oct. 14 for the weeklong retreat called “Be the Change” in Lake Atitlán.
According to the Guatemalan Public Ministry, Ng, who was with another woman, broke away from the group and continued to kayak for slightly over a mile before she “decided to jump into the lake to swim, at which point she disappeared.” Her kayak was later found, but she remains missing.
Rescue efforts: Ng’s family, who blames the yoga group for failing to file witness reports, previously hired private search and rescue team Black Wolf Helicopters to help locate Ng. Along with the help of Guatemala’s National Tourism Assistance Program and some locals, they have also mobilized search and rescue efforts, with support from individuals donating to their GoFundMe fundraiser.
Investigation: According to the Guatemala Attorney General’s Office, they have been unable to interview key witnesses as the yoga group left the country. The woman Ng was with has recently been identified as Christina Marie Blazek, a licensed attorney and deputy public defender at the Law Offices of the Public Defender, San Bernardino County in California. Both Rimada and Blazek are now considered as persons of interest in the case.
Prosecutors suspect drowning, but Ng’s family questions the explanation, citing a delayed report of her disappearance and the lack of witnesses coming forward. The FBI and the U.S. State Department are now involved in the investigation.
Ng family statement: Ng’s family has also been trying to contact Blazek but have had no success.
“Unfortunately, there are still no signs of Nancy. Given the lack of a firsthand account of where and how exactly Nancy disappeared, we are trying to cover search efforts based on every possible scenario,” Ng’s family wrote in a statement shared on Instagram.
“In spite of this frustrating and significant setback, we’ve undertaken the effort to try and triangulate a more precise understanding of where Nancy disappeared using all available information. Though no one saw Nancy get out of her kayak, witnesses and some retreat participants have given us a best-to-their-knowledge estimate of where they saw Nancy’s empty kayak. These accounts are naturally subjective and imperfect. But at the moment, it’s all we have.”
The family also plans to conduct a deep water search of the lake. Collaboration with organizations has also been initiated, but the most effective approach would involve the cooperation of the woman who was with Nancy, the family says. Without her involvement, the search relies on the available information.
About Ng: Nancy, a former Cal State law student, worked with special-needs children in the Alhambra Unified School District.
“She loves yoga, traveling, hiking with her family and cuddling with her cat. She has a kind heart, a big smile and can talk to anyone about anything (and often, everything). She’s a caring daughter, a loving sister and a supportive friend,” her family said.
Anyone with information on Ng’s disappearance is urged to contact her family at +1 626-614-3218 or [email protected].