First American found dead after Japan earthquake

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

In what may be the first confirmed American casualty from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a Virginia couple said the body of their 24-year-old daughter has been found amid the rubble.

The family of Taylor Anderson, who was teaching English in Japan, released a statement saying they had been notified by officials from the U.S. Embassy in Japan that their daughter was found in the city of Ishinomaki in northeast Japan, the Associated Press reported. Officials at the embassy were not immediately able to confirm Anderson's death Tuesday.

Photos: Japan grapples with crisis

"We would like to thank all those whose prayers and support have carried us through this crisis," said Andy and Jean Anderson, of Chesterfield County, Va., in a statement released Monday. "Please continue to pray for all who remain missing and for the people of Japan."

Virginia's governor released a statement expressing support for Anderson's family.

Photos: Before and after satellite images

"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," Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said in the statement. "Today we join the Anderson family in mourning the loss of a wonderful young Virginian who personified the selflessness and sense of duty that Americans serving abroad have become known for."

The Associated Press reported that Taylor Anderson began studying Japanese in middle school, and had moved to Japan in 2008 as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.

The total number of the dead and missing from the disaster topped 22,000 on Tuesday, according to Japan's National Police Agency.

victoria.kim@latimes.com

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