Anchorage woman goes to Taiwan to search for missing son

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2003

ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage woman is in Taiwan looking for her son, who vanished in May while sightseeing.

Barbara Klita boarded a plane in Anchorage Saturday to launch her search for Fryderyk Frontier, 29, who disappeared a few days after arriving to take a job teaching English.

American and Taiwanese authorities are looking for Frontier, but Klita wants to start her own investigation with the help of a private detective. In July, Klita spent a few weeks searching in Taiwan.

"I am feeling I am going to find him," she said. "If I don't, I don't give up. Somehow I have to find him. He is not a ghost."

Frontier, who changed his last name when he was 18, lived with his mother in Poland and Buffalo, N.Y., before the two settled in Alaska in 1985. He is known locally for his work promoting events and causes, such as recycling and pushing for the legalization of marijuana. In 2000, he ran unsuccessfully for a state House seat on the Green Party ticket.

Frontier moved to Seattle about three years ago and worked in a series of computer-related jobs.

Before long, he applied to the Hess Educational Organization, which offers teaching opportunities in Taiwan. Hess offered him a job teaching English for a year, according to James Li, a spokesman for the organization in Taiwan.

Frontier arrived in Taipei, Taiwan's capital, the night of May 20, Li said. The following day, he checked in at Hess' main office in Chung Ho City. Frontier was not scheduled to start work until May 26 and he told officials that he planned to sightsee until then, Li said. He stored his luggage at the main office for safekeeping and left.

It was the last Hess saw of him.

When he didn't show up for work on May 26, Hess officials contacted his family, friends and the hostel where he'd been staying.

The American Institute of Taiwan and the National Police Administration also were contacted, Li said. More than 1,500 missing-person posters were hung around the island, and Hess took out ads in English and Chinese newspapers, Li said.

The last person in the United States to hear from Frontier was his girlfriend in Seattle, Klita said. On May 23, he left her a message on her answering machine.

According to police reports, Frontier's backpack and wallet unaccountably showed up in the room he had been staying in about 10 days after his checkout date.

Klita said her son's driver's license and credit cards were in his wallet but his passport was missing. Klita believes someone is holding her son against his will.

Li said foul play has not been ruled out.

"We are remaining optimistic and hoping for a positive conclusion," he said.

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