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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Correspondent Reported Missing in Chechnya Is Found

Rebeccca Santana, an American reporter for Cox Newspapers whom the U.S. Embassy had reported missing in the North Caucasus, was located Wednesday afternoon in Chechnya and was safe, her editor said.

"She's been in Chechnya the last couple of days, unaware there was any concern for her safety or whereabouts," Cox Newspapers foreign editor Chuck Holmes said by telephone from Washington. "When she realized that, she left [Grozny for] Mozdok and gave me a call."

Santana was on her way back to Moscow, he said.

Santana had not been heard from since Sunday, when she flew to Mineralniye Vody, a city in North Ossetia, on the first leg of a trip to cover the conflict in neighboring Chechnya.

From there, she was to travel by car to the nearby city of Mozdok.

Santana's friends and fellow journalists in Moscow grew concerned when they received a call from a contact who was to have met her in Mozdok saying she had not shown up as planned.

The U.S. Embassy on Wednesday said it had filed a missing persons report with prosecutors and notified the Foreign Ministry, so that the Russian government could make "the appropriate Russian interagency contacts."

Russian and foreign journalists have been detained by security services in the region, and some have been kidnapped for ransom. Last July, AFP correspondent Ali Astamirov was pulled from a car by armed men after stopping for gas in Nazran, Ingushetia. He has not been heard from since.

No foreigner has gone missing in the North Caucasus since Dutch aid worker Arjan Erkel was abducted by three gunmen in Makhachkala, Dagestan, in August 2002.

Santana, 32, has been based in Moscow since 1999, where she worked for NBC television and Voice of America radio before becoming a correspondent for Atlanta-based Cox Newspapers.