Do you choose Move at the time of import in Lightroom?
As move can cause the original images to move from their original location to the destination location selected at the time of import.
If those images are accessible in Lightroom after import, you can right click / command click on the image and choose Show in Explorer/Finder which would take you to the actual location for that image on your hard drive.
No, I place the files into a given folder, then import from that folder into Lightroom, so I'm not using the copy command. Also, this is the same procedure I've been using since I got Lightroom, and all folders on my hard-drive where the import happened prior to Jan 30th 2015 still show the CR2 and XMP files right where you would expect to find them.
what happens when you select an image and choose Show in Explorer/Finder?
Does it take you to the location for that image?
Yes, it does
It means that the images are not being erased.
That is the actual location of your images.
You might want to recheck your import settings.
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It sounds like you inadvertently have changed your import from Add to Move or Copy. Bring up the import window and see. Chetna gave you the right advice for finding where the images ended up.
Chetna's name does mean something like wisdom or awakening in Sanskrit, but alas, I digress. Yes, I found the files in question somewhat intermingled with each other, but
nothing that can't be easily fixed. Thank-you Hal and Chetna for your assistance.