Skip to main content

American teacher found dead in Japan

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
American teacher found dead in Japan
  • Taylor Anderson, 24, had been teaching English in Ishinomaki, Japan
  • The oldest of three children, she was a Virginia native
  • Fellow teachers say Anderson likely tried to bike home after the quake
  • Her family asks people to pray for the missing and for the people of Japan

(CNN) -- An American woman teaching English in Japan has been found dead, her family said Monday.

Taylor Anderson, 24, had been missing since the tsunami struck earlier this month. She'd been teaching in Ishinomaki, Japan for the last three years, according to her parents.

Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi Prefecture, was hit hard by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

The disaster has killed more than 8,800 people and left close to 13,000 missing, many of them killed as a wall of water rushed in following the quake.

"We would like to thank all those whose prayers and support have carried us through this crisis. Please continue to pray for all who remain missing and for the people of Japan," her family said.

The oldest of three children, Anderson was a native of Virginia. Her parents said she loved Japan, the culture and children.

Some of her fellow teachers in Japan told CNN that Anderson hopped on her bike after the quake and likely tried to pedal home. The tsunami waters did not reach the school, though her home neighborhood was hit head on, they said.

Getting food to people in Japan
Google's resource for missing in Japan
  • Charitable Giving
  • Earthquakes
  • Tsunamis
  • Japan

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell released a statement, offering his support for Anderson's family and friends. He said Anderson is the first American reported to have been killed in the natural disasters.

"Fittingly, she was last seen helping parents safely reunite with their children following the earthquake, an act which illustrates her dedication to her students and to the Japanese people she served," McDonnell said. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with Taylor's family and friends during this difficult time."

CNN's Gary Tuchman and Devna Shukla contributed to this report

Watch Anderson Cooper 360° weeknights 8pm ET. For the latest from AC360° click here.

Part of complete coverage on
Wedding bells toll post-quake
One effect of Japan's deadly quake has been to remind many of the importance of family and to drive them to the altar.
Toyota makes drastic production cuts
Toyota has announced drastic production cuts due to difficulty in supplying parts following the earthquake in Japan.
Chernobyl's 25-year shadow
There's an eerie stillness about the desolate buildings and empty streets of Pripyat.
Inside evacuation 'ghost town'
A photographer documents the ghost town left behind by the nuclear crisis in Japan. What he found was a "time stop."
One month since the quake
Somber ceremonies mark one month since the earthquake and tsunami killed as many as 25,000 people.
First moments of a tsunami
Witnesses capture the very first moments of the devastating tsunami that struck Japan in March.
The 'nuclear renaissance' that wasn't
A month after a devastating earthquake sent a wall of water across the Japanese landscape, the global terrain of the atomic power industry has been forever altered.
Drone peers into damaged reactors
Engineers use a flying drone to peer into the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.