ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Washington College in Maryland announced Wednesday it will be closed through the Thanksgiving holiday while authorities continue searching for a troubled missing student who could be armed.
Sheila Bair, president of the private school of about 1,450 students, said on the college's website that the decision was based on continuing consultations with law enforcement. The college anticipates resuming classes on Monday, Nov. 30, and the college will reopen the day before.
"Following the difficult events of the past few days, Washington College will be canceling classes this week and the week of Thanksgiving Break," Bair said.
Local and federal authorities including the FBI are still searching for 19-year-old sophomore Jacob Marberger.
The school on Maryland's Eastern Shore first canceled classes Monday, after Marberger's parents called the college to say he had returned home to Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia and may have taken a firearm. College officials initially planned to reopen Tuesday but decided to close until further notice and evacuate students after receiving new information from law enforcement.
"All residential students have either returned home or been taken in by members of the campus and Chestertown community," Bair said in her statement Wednesday.
Marberger is wanted on four charges related to him showing an antique gun at his fraternity house last month while intoxicated. Kent County State's Attorney Harris Murphy said the charges include possessing a dangerous weapon on school property, handgun on a person, possession of a firearm by a minor and illegal possession of ammunition.
Marberger's disappearance follows difficulties he had been experiencing at the college, police said. He was kicked out of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity last week, and on Sunday he resigned his position as speaker of the senate in the college's student government. Marberger had been scheduled to have a hearing based on the school's honor code this week, Chestertown Police Chief Adrian Baker said, adding that Marberger had not made any known threats to the college or students.
"He never made any threats to the students, so there's not any overt or tacit threat that we're aware of," Baker said in a telephone interview Wednesday, before the college announced it would be closed through the holiday break. "The college acted proactively and took the actions that they did."
Baker said police are maintaining a presence at the college, though there is much less concern now, because the students are not there anymore.
Marberger was last seen Monday driving a dark green Range Rover with Pennsylvania tags beginning with "JWY," the college announced on its website Monday.
The liberal arts college in Chestertown, Maryland, was founded in 1782.