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E-mail from Vietnam ends a mother's agonizing wait

Published Aug. 24, 2005

The e-mail popped on her screen New Year's Day about 3 in the morning.

hey mom,

Just for starters, i'm in Vietnam not Thailand . . . so i wasn't affected by the tidal wave. Im healthy and happy and am having a great time. As soon as i get back on the 11th i will give you a call. So i hope you aren't worrying to much.



After sitting by her computer for a week, calling anyone she thought could help, posting photos on the Internet, and even looking through photos of victims, Dee Chastain finally heard from the 24-year-old son she had feared was missing when tsunamis struck Southeast Asia Dec. 26.

A teacher based in Japan, Nick Amheiser had planned to visit Vietnam, India and Thailand over the holidays. But Chastain, a teacher at Tyrone Middle School who lives in Largo, hadn't heard from him since Dec. 19.

"He decided to stay in Vietnam," Chastain said. "Thank God for girlfriends." In an interview with WTSP-Ch. 10, Chastain said she strongly reminded her son to keep her informed of his whereabouts. "I was sitting here jumping everywhere," she said, adding with a laugh, "between that and wanting to kill him."