Each day begins as the last one ended: Looking for Michael.
Normal life has all but ground to a halt for the loved ones of missing Stony Brook University junior Michael McLaughlin, who family members say packed up some clothes from his dorm room and drove off campus heading west more than a week ago.
"We get up in the morning and start looking," said his father, John McLaughlin, in a phone interview Saturday from the family's home in upstate Cornwall.
With each passing day, the worry grows that something dire has happened to the 20-year-old chemistry major, his father said. Still, the family is holding onto the hope that this sudden, uncharacteristic departure was deliberate and that he is OK.
"He did pack up some things before he left," John McLaughlin said.
Still, there's been no word since Michael McLaughlin was last seen on campus at 4 a.m. Dec. 13. And the family says they have no idea where he went.
"We haven't heard anything, no text, no phone calls," his father said. "They just go to voicemail."
As the days have passed, campus police and family continue to expand their search farther and farther from Long Island, reaching out to friends of Michael who live around the country, John McLaughlin said.
The family's message to Michael is simple, his father said: "Just contact us. We're not angry. We're not mad. We just need to know where" you are.
Michael McLaughlin didn’t show up for his shift with the school's volunteer ambulance corps the night of Dec. 14. Neither did he show up for his finals Dec. 13 or 14, his family said. He had been nervous about the tests.
His girlfriend, also a Stony Brook student, contacted the family the morning of Dec. 15, worried because he hadn't been in contact with her since 2:30 a.m. Dec. 13, they added. The pair had not had a disagreement, and there was no sense that anything was amiss, family members have said.
Authorities say his vehicle was seen crossing the Holland Tunnel into New Jersey at 6 a.m. Dec. 13. He has a GPS on his cellphone but the phone doesn't appear to be working or turned on, his father said.
Stony Brook University police said Saturday there's no new information on the case.
"We're trying to hold up," said John McLaughlin, adding that the support from friends and family has helped. "There's a million people looking for him."
He added, "He's never done anything like this before."
McLaughlin may be driving a gray 2008 Subaru Impreza with a New York license plate: HRE-5719, police said.
Michael McLaughlin was wearing a black jacket, black pants and white shoes when he was last seen. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 150 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He has no history of mental illness, his family said.