A University of Kentucky student is missing in Israel, after a seven-week exchange program in Amman, Jordan took a turn for the worse.
19-year-old TeNiya Jones of Fort Myers was on a two-month trip to Jordan when a few friends decided to take a weekend trip to Israel before their scheduled return to the States next Friday. However, after a late-night swim in Tel Aviv, Jones disappeared in the rip current.
According to Naples News, Jones’ mother, Tosha Thomas-Mora said she spoke to her daughter via text around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, and her daughter had told her she was “in for the night,” as it was about 10:30 p.m. in Israel. But, less than eight hours later, she said she received a message from the school’s exchange program, telling her Jones was missing.
“I wish to talk to you about what’s happening in Tel Aviv and give you some updates,” the vice president of Health and Safety at the Council on International Educational Exchange said in the message. “Right now there’s concern that she went out swimming and she has not yet returned and it’s been about 2 and a half hours. Search and rescue is looking for her and the U.S. Embassy is involved.”
When Jones’ mother returned the call, the vice president elaborated, letting her know that her daughter had gone for a “midnight swim” with two other students. When they were out in the water, the rip current began to pull them out to sea, so the three swam back to shore. However, upon arrival, Jones could not be found, so the two students, who have been identified as a 20-year-old woman from D.C. and a 21-year-old man from Illinois, reported the incident to police
Upon hearing the news, Jones’ mother said her daughter was never really known to swim in the Gulf when she went to the beach. Although she said she’s “a decent swimmer,” she said “the furthest I’ve known her to go is to stand and wade at the show of the water and take pictures.”
Although officials conducted a “major search and rescue effort,” Jones was not located. However, just two days later, the body of the missing student was found near the Mediterranean Sea, Courier Journal reports, as family members revealed that Jones had drowned.