The colleagues of An Wu, an American academic who came to attend a conference in Montreal, can hardly believe that the “brilliant and dynamic” thirty-year-old disappeared in the fatal fire that occurred last Thursday in Old Montreal. The family of the young woman wonders about the causes of this tragedy, says a close friend.

Ms. Wu’s friends had not heard from them since Thursday, reports Enida Gjoni, a colleague at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The two postdocs had been living together on a daily basis since 2018. The loss of An Wu leaves a huge void as her loved ones fear she is among the missing, she said of the 31-year-old researcher, who immigrated from China. China to the United States to continue his studies. “She is a brilliant, intelligent woman. But it is also dynamic and human. »

The two friends traveled from San Diego to COSYNE, a popular neuroscience conference held in Montreal and Mont-Tremblant from March 9-14.

The workshops organized in the metropolis took place at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel and ended on Tuesday. Ms. Gjoni left Quebec the following day. An Wu’s return flight was scheduled for Thursday. She therefore rented accommodation for one night through the Airbnb platform, says her colleague.

An Wu’s friends went without news last weekend. His family, consumed by worry, contacted the local police. “She responds to her texts in two seconds. It was unusual. »

Since An Wu’s family is in China, Ms. Wu’s entourage in San Diego went looking for her. They found his apartment empty. They notified the border authorities of his disappearance. They were informed that she never crossed the border. “We didn’t know what was going on,” she continues.

The person in charge of the rental reported An Wu’s disappearance to the authorities the night of the tragedy, she said. “They then contacted the emergency contact person. That’s how we found out. »

The last messages sent by An Wu to his relatives date from Thursday around 2 a.m. She would therefore not have come out, believes Ms. Gjoni. “She liked the apartment, she didn’t mention to anyone that something was wrong inside. To her knowledge, Ms. Wu was staying alone in the apartment.

An Wu’s parents deserve to know what happened to their daughter, believes her colleague, in contact with the young woman’s family in China. They cannot travel to Canada since they do not have a visa. “Nothing is going to bring An back to them. But we are hoping for answers from the police, the government and the owner. »