German missing from camp surfaces in San Francisco

August 06, 1994|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writer

The foreign exchange student who was reported missing last month, after being seen boarding an MTA bus in Baltimore, turned up Thursday in San Francisco.

Karl Heinz Schell walked into the German Consulate seeking assistance, police said yesterday. He surfaced amid a nationwide search by the Baltimore police and the FBI.

Kristin Schwartz, an official of Camp Counselors U.S.A. who hired the 20-year-old German and placed him at Camp Greentop in Thurmont, said she did not know why he deserted the camp. He was to earn $400 and room and board for nine weeks as a counselor and lifeguard.

"It was all a bit strange," said Ms. Schwartz, whose 7-year-old organization places 3,000 counselors from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Africa in U.S. camps each summer.

Mr. Schell could not be reached for comment.

Officials at Camp Greentop, a camp for the disabled, said they were still puzzled over his sudden disappearance.

He was last seen boarding a bus near Loch Raven Boulevard on July 19 during a break between Greentop's sessions, said camp director Cisco Nochera.

Camp Counselors U.S.A. officials said Mr. Schell bought a Greyhound bus pass and traveled to San Francisco. The FBI was notified after Mr. Schell cashed a check from Camp Greentop in Denver, Mr. Nochera said.

Mr. Schell left behind his daily journal, all of his clothes, his suitcase and a blue and white flag representing the European Union, Mr. Nochera said. After the popular lifeguard did not return to the camp, his alarmed colleagues tried to find him.

"He could have been dead, checked in to a hospital or became ill. We even checked for 'John Does,' " Mr. Nochera said. "We called all youth hostels, German organizations, the local police and even the national park police."

Mr. Schell had assisted in two camp sessions since arriving in Thurmont in mid-June, Mr. Nochera said.

"We don't know the story," Mr. Nochera said, adding that Mr. Schell had not contacted his former colleagues after he was located. "He was a good guy and a good worker . . . friendly and he seemed to know what he was doing."

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