Police searching for missing Sartell area NDSU student
FARGO - Police here are expanding a search for an 18-year-old North Dakota State University freshman who has been missing since early Saturday morning.
FARGO – Police here are expanding a search for an 18-year-old North Dakota State University freshman who has been missing since early Saturday morning.
Police dogs, officers and firefighters Monday afternoon will canvass the area where Tommy Bearson, of Sartell, Minn., was last seen, said Lt. Joel Vettel of the Fargo Police Department, which is heading the investigation of Bearson’s disappearance.
Bearson was last seen about 3:40 a.m. Saturday in the 800 block of 14th Street North, Vettel said. He said a “methodical” grid-style search will begin Monday afternoon from that area toward campus – where Bearson, a nursing student, lived in Reid Hall dormitory. The area where Bearson was last seen is about six blocks south of his dorm. It was searched previously, but Monday’s afternoon canvassing will be more detailed, Vettel said.
Last tweet from Bearson’s Twitter account sent at 1:23 a.m. Saturday:
“dude it's jake come pick us up.” “We are so lost and we are going to die. Just get somebody.”
Firefighters will also begin a cursory search of the Red River on Monday afternoon, though there’s no indication connecting Bearson to the river – which is more than a mile to the east of campus.
“That’s just based on the lack of information we have,” Vettel said of the boat search.
Vettel, the spokesman for the department, said there is no need yet for volunteers to assist in the search, but plans are being made to provide a contact point for possible volunteers if authorities decided that would be helpful.
“We want to make sure we bring him home,” he said.
Bearson, a standout basketball player at Sartell High School, where he graduated last spring, was reported missing by his family at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday after he failed to catch a ride from the NDSU campus back to see his family in Sartell. The plan had been to leave at noon, but he never showed up, Vettel said.
Bearson’s disappearance was first publicly reported by NDSU on Sunday night.
Authorities say there is no reason to think yet that foul play is involved. Witnesses have said Bearson was in good spirits before he went missing, said NDSU Police Chief William Vandal.
“We have information that he was in a good mood and everything seemed to be fine,” Vandal said at a Monday afternoon press conference with Vettel.
Despite an earlier report from NDSU that there was on-campus video showing Bearson before he went missing, Vandal said no such video has been found yet. Authorities aren’t sure yet if alcohol was involved.
Bearson is 6 foot, 1 inch tall, 155 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. Vettel said he was last seen wearing a baseball hat, a blue Sartell track and field shirt and khaki pants.
A fellow student told The Forum earlier Monday that he saw Bearson shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday, hours after the missing student tweeted that he was lost and needed a ride.
The last tweet from Bearson’s Twitter account was sent at 1:23 a.m. Saturday and reads, “dude it's jake come pick us up.” It also reads, “We are so lost and we are going to die. Just get somebody.”
In an interview Monday, the recipient of the tweet, Cody Mead, also an NDSU student, said Bearson and “Jake” found a ride to Mead’s house in north Fargo after that tweet.
“Jake” refers to Mead’s roommate, Jake Wenzel, who went to high school with Bearson, Mead said. Mead met Bearson for the first time that night.
Mead said after Wenzel and Bearson arrived at his house in North Fargo, they “hung out for a while” before Bearson left between 3:40 and 4 a.m. That was the last time Mead saw Bearson before he heard that he was missing Saturday afternoon, he said.
By Grace Lyden, Forum News Service.