Missing Virginia Teacher's Body Found in Japan

Taylor Anderson is believed to be the first U.S. casualty of tsunami.

ByABC News
March 20, 2011, 10:39 PM

March 21, 2011 — -- Taylor Anderson loved Japan since she was a young child, became fluent in the language, and was teaching English in one of the country's coastal cities when the devastating tsunami struck. The Richmond, Va. woman is believed to be the first American victim of the disaster.

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo says it has tentatively identified the body of Anderson, 24.

Anderson's family has not positively identified the body, officials said. The State Department told ABC News that it was unable to confirm Anderson's death; however, her family released a statement earlier today.

"It is with deep regret that we inform you that earlier this morning we received a call from the U.S. Embassy in Japan that they had found our beloved Taylor's body. 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. We ask that you respect our privacy during this hard time," the statement said.

Anderson was a teacher in the city of Ishinomaki as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program; she'd been participating in the program for 2.5 years.

Jean Anderson told ABC affiliate WVEC-TV that her daughter was last seen after the earthquake. She was riding her bike toward her apartment after ensuring that students at her school had been picked up by their parents. The tsunami hit the shores of Ishinomaki shortly afterward.

The family received news Tuesday that she was safe and in a shelter, but that information was wrong.

Ishinomaki is located in the Miyagi Prefecture, a coastal area that took the full force of the tsunami.