Video of the last time a Southern California woman was seen alive before she disappeared on a yoga retreat in Guatemala was released as her family remains desperate for answers.
The family of Nancy Ng, a 29-year-old Monterey Park woman, said they are beyond distraught as they work to uncover the mystery of her disappearance.
Nancy, a former Cal State L.A. student who works for the Alhambra Unified School District, had planned to relax at a week-long yoga retreat at Lake Atitlán, something she had done for the second year in a row.
She left California on Oct. 14 and just a few days into her trip, her family said the retreat organizer called to say she had vanished.
She was reported missing on Oct. 19 and was last seen kayaking with a group of ten people on an excursion that day.
Since Nancy’s disappearance, law enforcement and her family have been searching for answers while dispatching air and land search crews along with divers and drones.
The Ng Family said prosecutors told them they believe Nancy drowned that day, but they say the details just don’t add up.
According to the family, some of the primary witnesses, the people who were with Nancy the day she disappeared, haven’t been forthcoming with the investigation, making the search even more difficult.
Newly obtained footage shows what loved ones said is the last known recorded video of Nancy before she disappeared. In the video, Nancy is seen paddling on a kayak in Lake Atitlán, waving happily to someone off in the distance.
“It’s hard to watch,” said said Nicky Ng, Nancy’s sister. “Clearly, she looks happy and excited to be out on the lake and I hope that’s not the last time we’ll see her. But it’s hard to say because there have been no primary witnesses who have spoken up to what they saw.”
Guatemalan prosecutors said a woman who was reportedly kayaking with Nancy told them Nancy had drowned when she decided to go swimming.
“We haven’t even gotten an update from the prosecutor’s office as far as where they got that information,” Nicky said of that detail. “What’s curious to us is that we don’t have that witness report in our police report.”
The Ng Family said no witnesses have actually spoken to them during the investigation.
The kayak company owners told KTLA that eight out of 10 people in the group that day returned from the excursion, except Nancy and another woman. The two women were allegedly seen paddling out further into the lake before only one woman returned without Nancy.
The owners said the group left the lake without saying a word and reportedly checked out of their hotel 12 hours later and never paid for the kayak excursion.
“No one in the group was interested in talking to anybody,” said Lee Beal, owner of Kayak Guatemala, the company Nancy’s group used in their excursion. “It was almost like immediately clamming up.”
“I just don’t understand that part, the leaving within eight to 12 hours of the accident,” said Elaine Beal, co-owner of Kayak Guatemala.
In the meantime, the search for Nancy has come to a halt. The head of the private search crew the family had hired said they’ve scoured the lake using helicopters, boats and drones, but to no avail. In order to continue, they said they’ll need witnesses to come forward and reveal the last place Nancy was seen alive.
“There’s just so many unknowns, focused primarily because the people who were there are not speaking,” said Chris Sharpe, Co-Owner of Black Wolf Helicopters, who is assisting in the search for Nancy.
The Ng Family said they’ve hired a lawyer in Guatemala to investigate whether Nancy did in fact drown or whether there may be more to the story.
Despite the setbacks in their search, the family remains determined to find her as every second that passes remains a waking nightmare.
“We just want her to know that we love her so much and we just really want to bring her home,” Nicky said.
The FBI confirmed to KTLA that although the Guatemalan government remains the lead agency on the investigation, FBI officials are working closely with them.
Nancy’s family has also been privately funding search efforts. They have created a GoFundMe page to help with search and rescue efforts.
“Time is of the essence, and we are racing against the clock to bring Nancy home,” her family said in a statement to KTLA. “It has been an ongoing nightmare, not knowing what happened to Nancy or if we will ever get her back. All my family wants is to bring our sister/daughter home. Please help us do so.”