Details of Disappearance
Gimelfarb flew out of O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois on August 9, 2009, for a vacation to Costa Rica. On August 10, he emailed his parents and spoke to them on the phone and said he planned to visit a national park that day. He told them he would call them every day. He was staying at the Hotel Chachipelin in Liberia, a city in the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste.
On August 11, Gimelfarb's parents contacted the hotel because they hadn't heard from him. The following day, the hotel notified them that his rented white Hyundai Tucson was found locked in the parking lot of the Rincon De La Vieja National Park, three miles from the hotel. The date and time stamp for admittance to the park was for August 10. The national park is 35,000 acres in size and mostly volcanic jungle terrain.
Gimelfarb has never been heard from again. He has no known mental problems and no history of drug or alcohol abuse. An extensive search of the park, involving local officials and volunteers, the Red Cross, and two United States Army Black Hawk helicopters, turned up no indication of his whereabouts.
His parents traveled to Costa Rica on August 13 to assist with the investigation. They stated he's an experienced hiker and traveler; he had previously gone skiing in Colorado and had traveled alone to Israel.
At the time of his disappearance, Gimelfarb was a third-year Ph.D student at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, and resided in the Buena Park neighborhood of that city. Highland Park, Illinois police are investigating his case; his parents live there. The Charley Project is profiling his case due to his American citizenship.