DICKINSON, N.D. – The father of one of three missing college softball players said Tuesday the women often went star gazing near a lake in southwestern North Dakota and police do not suspect foul play in their disappearances.
Lenny Gemar told ABC's "Good Morning America" in a telephone interview that the Dickinson State University students would hang out by Patterson Lake near the city and "just look up at the stars and, you know, chat about the things that teenagers will chat about."
Police have refused to speculate on what might have happened to Kyrstin Gemar, 22, of Grossmont, Calif.; Afton Williamson, 20, of Lake Elsinore, Calif.; and Ashley Neufeld, 21, of Brandon, Manitoba in Canada. The women were believed to be in a white 1997 Jeep Cherokee with California plates when they were last heard from late Sunday night, authorities said.
Dickinson Police Lt. Dave Wallace has said a friend of the women received two telephone calls from them, about one minute apart, before the line cut out on Sunday. The exact words used in the calls and exactly which of the women they came from were not immediately released.
Wallace said water was mentioned in the conversation but the context was not clear. The friend who received the calls called 911 to report that the women needed help.
Authorities searched a 30-mile radius of the cell phone tower north of Dickinson where the calls came through on Monday using three airplanes and officers on the ground. The search included Patterson Lake just southwest of Dickinson, a city of 16,000 people about 100 miles west of Bismarck and 60 miles east of the Montana state line.
The air search was called off after dark. Police Officer Thomas Grosz said the search was likely to resume early Tuesday. He did not immediately know how many people it might involve.
Lenny Gemar said he and his wife arrived in North Dakota late Monday night to try to help find his daughter, Kyrstin, and her teammates. He said they were met at the airport by a university official and updated on the case and investigators' efforts.
"They haven't found anything that I'm aware of," he said. "No tire tracks, no clothing ... nothing at all to give us any indication where the girls ended up."
Gemar said he had not spoken with the friend who said she received the distress calls, but it didn't seem like the girls were being attacked.
"There was nothing to indicate that there was an assailant or anything like that going on," he said. "It just comes across as sounding more like an accident of some kind."