WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Searchers scoured a portion of Purdue University's campus Saturday for the cell phone a missing student used the night he vanished, but failed to find the device, a campus spokeswoman said.
A prayer vigil for Wade S. Steffey, 19, attended by more than 300 people was cut short so that Saturday's search for his silver, flip-style Verizon cell phone could begin.
University spokeswoman Jeanne Norberg said the search of lawns, bushes and trash cans turned up parts of other cell phones as well as shoes and socks, but nothing linked to Steffey.
Steffey, a freshman from Bloomington, was last seen early on Jan. 13 leaving a party at the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house on the north side of campus.
Police do not believe Steffey was intoxicated the night he disappeared. A $50 withdrawal was made from his bank account at a campus ATM at about 8:30 p.m. Jan. 12 and his cell phone was last used about four hours later, police said.
With help from Verizon, authorities traced the location of his phone to the area of the Purdue's football stadium and campus, Norberg said. Information from Verizon showed that the phone transmitted a signal until Wednesday, when its battery presumably died, she said.
Norberg said police are now asking any Purdue University student who was on the north end of campus between midnight and 3 a.m. on Jan. 13 to contact police. She said they are eager to see if they may have seen something relevant to the search for Steffey.
Norberg said students are also being urged to immediately report to police any object they see on campus that looks unusual or that could be important in the search for the student.
"We're telling people that if they see anything that looks like it could be important not to pick it up but to stay with it and call police," she said.