Dennison University student reported missing, found in another students room

David Hallman III

A story from the Columbus Dispatch tells the story of a missing Denison University student who went missing on Jan. 30 and the schools immediately response in looking for her.

So immediately, that even the police chief was surprised. When the police chief arrived, he stated that the school was already using a search pattern to look for the missing coed. 

Thirty minutes after the student was reported missing, about a dozen students were searching for her.  By 6:45 there were 150 people searching for her, including staff and faculty, thanks to an email sent out by the VP of student development.

The police responded to this students disappearance by sending out an Amber Alert, which was the first time one has been issued on behalf of a Columbus area university.  

Then around 8:30 a.m. the missing student comes out of another student’s room and is embarrassed to find that the whole campus is looking for her.  The student probably thought that no one would notice if she was gone for a few hours.  I am sure she never anticipated her boyfriend or the schools reaction to her absence. 

So, was this schools vigilance too much?  Should they have waited a couple of hours before searching for her?  Should the boyfriend waited a little longer before sounding the alarm?  I think not.

Just a year ago another student, David Hallman went missing after he left a bar.  He was found later that day in a driveway of a condominium complex.  He had frozen to death. 

Hallman’s death still bothers many at Dennison and it is something they never want to happen again.  So, a prompt response to the missing student was more than just due diligence, it was a response to remembering the dreadful feeling of what it was like to lose one of their own, and to respond to the second guessing they have done over the last year, which may have resulting in a different outcome for David Hallman. Many were determined to find the missing student quickly, and safely, which is commendable.  And although their time and effort could be said to have been for naught, no one is thinking that way, and are happy that she was found.  Although the student herself might have a little bit of teasing to overcome.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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