An American pilot who suddenly vanished from sight without trace in West Africa has been spotted at a human trafficking hotspot in Libya.
Krause was piloting this Beechcraft 17 1900C 17-seat passenger plane to Mali when he was last heard of
The family of a missing American pilot who vanished without trace in West Africa have been told he has been spotted by investigators at a human trafficking hotspot in Libya, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Jerry Krause was at the controls of a routine flight from South Africa to Mali where he was working as a missionary on April 7, 2013 when he disappeared.
The last message from his Beechcraft 17 1900C 17-seat passenger plane was to a control tower on the tiny island of São Tomé, saying he was nine miles from its shore. Then he vanished.
But in November last year Krause’s family told DailyMail.com that they had received an email from one of his friends – who they say is a former U.S. intelligence officer with high-level contacts in the government – saying that he is still alive.
The friend said they fear he is being held hostage by a criminal gang and used to smuggle high value goods against his will.
The astonishing claim turned what had seemed like a routine tragedy into a mystery.
Now three months later on the mystery surrounding his whereabouts has deepened further.
Investigators working for the family claim intelligence ‘assets’ they have on the ground in Africa have reported seeing the pilot at an airport in Ghat, Libya.
Special investigator Stephen Komorek, who is working with the Krause family to find Jerry, told DailyMail.com: ‘We have resources in country that have verified Jerry being alive.
‘We know that he was last seen in an area called Ghat in the southwestern part of Libya at a old airport used by Colonel Gaddafi.
‘The man they saw fit Jerry’s description exactly. This was as of December last year so very recently.’
Komorek, a former intelligence operator, says Ghat is a known hub for human trafficking so if Krause is being made to fly planes against his will this could be one explanation why he was spotted there.
‘There’s a lot of kidnapping that goes out of Ghat and there is a direct smuggling link with Angola,’ he said.
The airport is close to the town of Ghat, an oasis close to both the Algeriana and Nigerien borders.
In the aftermath of the fall of Libyan dictator Mumyar Gaddafi, the area has come under the control of local Touraeg tribesmen and is largely lawless.
Investigators discovered that hours after Krause vanished his cell phone pinged in Angola.
Komorek, based in Ohio, says the assets his team has on the ground in Libya are trying to get a better handle on Krause’s whereabouts, only then can they consider a rescue mission.
He’s working closely with respected California based private investigator Logan Clarke to help the Krause family.
The two men, both members of the World Association of Detectives, are carrying out the work pro bono in a bid to help the family.
The Krause family and its investigations team have made a huge effort to put pressure on the US Government to step in and help.
But so far they have been stone-walled by the State Department and several other government agencies, leading investigators to suspect that maybe Krause is a CIA asset.
Komorek says his team has discovered that a US based Intelligence agency working in Africa has a file on Krause, which is another reason they were led to believe the pilot might be a spook.
But, according to Komorek, that theory has finally been cleared up.
‘We met with senior members of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence back in January and were able to determine that our continuing investigation will not compromise any intelligence activities by the US,’ he said.
‘We now know Jerry is not an asset for any intelligence agency and that our investigation will not jeopardize intelligence assets on the ground.
‘That was a major concern of ours to begin with.’
Jerry Krause (pictured with his wife Gina) disappeared during a routine flight from South Africa to Mali
Most importantly no government agency has indicated to the family or the investigators that any of their inquiries have concluded Krause is dead.
‘We have other government sources on the ground as well that are now speaking to us,’ said Komorek.
‘It’s still the case that we believe Jerry may have been kidnapped, taken to Angola and has been made to fly planes against his will.
‘We don’t have any evidence that shows against that so that’s the running theory. The main thing is we believe he is still alive, so there’s still hope.’
Another twist in the case is that the Krause family claim an official from the Africa Division of the US Department of State called them multiple times but refused to speak with their private investigators.
Krause’s daughter Jessica told DailyMail.com: ‘I started getting phone calls and emails from a person in the State Department. I had received some background information about the man that made me hesitant in talking to him.
‘So I had not answered the phone when he called nor responded to his emails… I had received around five to eight phone calls from him, in addition to a few emails, and that my sister and mother had also received a phone call and email.
‘I thought it was strange that someone was trying to contact my family with such determination.’
Komorek said he later discovered that the State Department official wanted to know ‘who’s looking into the case, what do they know?’.
‘Jessica left a voicemail and emails with the man telling him to talk to the investigators,’ he said.
‘But Logan and I have never once received a call from him. That’s the part that really got us intrigued.’
Krause was living in Mali with wife Gina when he vanished.
He was working as a pilot for an aviation company when his job took him to South Africa where he was to pick up an aircraft and fly it back to Mali for refurbishment.
After he vanished his family organized a search in the area around São Tomé and Príncipe, an island country about 350 miles off the coast of the African country of Gabon, but were left with nothing: there was no debris, no May Day call, and no black box. His emergency transponder had never been triggered.
They also commissioned air crash investigator Phil Schlener to retrace every step that Krause had taken searching for clues.
According to Schlener he is 99 per cent sure Krause’s aircraft crashed into the Gulf of Guinea due to ‘heavy thunderstorms’ and that the plane plummeted into the ocean some 20 miles off the shoreline.
But he said he had to maintain a one per cent possibility that Krause was hijacked due to his ‘cell phone apparently ringing in Angola.’
That seemed so improbable as to be impossible; so the devastated Krause family accepted that their husband and father was gone and they began to mourn his death and rebuild their lives.
But then in 2014 the family was approached by a U.S. government intelligence source claiming to have information about Krause’s disappearance and the mystery has continued from there.
Desperate for answers they have since turned to experienced private investigator Logan Clarke for more assistance.
Jessica, who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, told DailyMail.com last year that her family had contacted President Trump and other senior government figures for help, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
The dream of bringing her father back home is still very much alive, however.
‘To be honest there were so many things that didn’t add up when my dad went missing, all these little details that were red flags,’ said Jessica.
‘It all led us to cling to the belief that our father was still very much alive and we haven’t lost that hope.’