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Missing Colorado woman found alive in Japan

9:33 PM, Mar 14, 2011   |    comments
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"We did get a posting [on Facebook] that she was sighted in a shelter, alive and well," Faris' girlfriend Barb Larson said. "We have yet to hear from her."

The news spread quickly through Strasburg, where Amanda Faris grew up and graduated from school.

"So excited to give her a big old hug," friend Rebecca Faulker said. "She is kind of a shy girl. So I think she is going to be totally embarrassed that we made such a fuss over her."

Greg Lekich, Amanda Faris' friend in a neighboring Japanese town, told the family Amanda sent a text message from her cell phone Friday night.

Lekich says another friend ran into Amanda Faris at a shelter as he was searching for his missing girlfriend.

"She was in good spirits," Roger Faris said, adding he was still anxiously waiting for a phone call from his daughter.

Amanda Frais was teaching English in one of Japan's hardest-hit areas when the earthquake and tsunami hit.

"It kind of hits you to the core wondering if she was OK," Steven Vetter, who worked with Amanda Faris at a local newspaper, the I-70 Scout, said. "There was definitely a sense of relief."

Amanda Faris worked at a school in Higashimatsushima, a coastal city in northern Japan, about an hour, or 30 miles, from Sendai.

According to Japanese news reports, Higashimatsushima was ravaged by the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that followed. The giant wave laid waste to much of Japan's northern coast.

"They had maybe 15 minutes notice [between the earthquake and tsunami]," Roger Faris said Saturday.

Amanda Faris had been in the country almost four years and was preparing to move home in April.

Roger Faris said Amanda's last Facebook posting was on Wednesday, before the earthquake.

He has lost all direct communication since but has been in contact with Amanda Faris' friends in the region and her employer Interac, a private company that provides language teachers to Japanese schools.

A statement on the company's website Monday read:

"Interac is continuing to work to contact teachers affected by Friday's earthquake in northeastern Japan. Many lines of communication remain down. Power shortages may affect our ability to respond to requests for information, but as soon as we have information we will contact you. Interac will continue to have staff on duty 24 hours a day."

Roger Faris was hopeful he would receive a phone call from his daughter soon.

"I'll let you know when I get to hear her voice," he said. "I haven't been sleeping much."

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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