Stony Brook University junior Michael McLaughlin is missing, and university police and his family are asking for the public's help in locating him.
McLaughlin, 20, of upstate Cornwall, was last seen on campus at 4 a.m. Thursday, SBU Police Chief Robert J. Lenahan said Monday in an alert to the campus community.
McLaughlin, a chemistry major, may be driving a gray 2008 Subaru Impreza which was seen traveling through New York City to New Jersey the morning he went missing, police said. The Impreza has a New York license plate: HRE-5719.
“We’re just frantic,” his mother, Diana McLaughlin, said Tuesday. “We’re just hoping that he reaches out to someone, whether it’s us or another family member, or one of his close friends. We’re all beside ourselves.”
The family has no idea where he might be traveling to, and has been trying to reach him via calls, text messages, emails and social media, she said. “It looks like his cellphone is either off, or the battery is dead,” Diana McLaughlin 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 mother said.
“Everybody wants to help and go search, but we don’t know where to tell them to begin searching,” she said. “It’s kind of every parent’s nightmare.”
Her son is an emergency medical technician and a member of the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps, she said.
He didn’t show up for his shift with the ambulance corps Friday night or for his finals on Thursday and Friday, she said, which is “very unusual for him.”
His girlfriend, also a Stony Brook student, contacted the family Saturday morning, worried because he hadn't been in contact with her since 2:30 a.m. Thursday, Diana McLaughlin said. They had not had a disagreement, and there was no sense that anything was amiss, she said.
He was nervous about his finals, but there was "no reason to believe that there was anything wrong," she said.
University police searched his room on campus, and spoke with his roommate, she said. Video surveillance showed he packed a couple of things, put them in his car and left, she said.
Diana’s husband, John, had spoken with their son on Dec. 10 because he was having some car issues — that was their last communication with him, she said.
Their son was expected home for the holidays this week, and hasn’t contacted any of his close friends in Cornwall, she said. He usually meets with them there during school breaks.
Family and friends, along with local media, have been helping to get the word out, Diana McLaughlin said.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to call the university police at 631-632-3333, or call their local police department.
“We love him and we want him to come back home, and just make contact with someone. Whatever is going on, we can help him get through it. It’ll be fine,” his mother said. “With every passing hour we’re trying to be positive, hoping he’s just trying to take a timeout or something. With every passing day it’s getting more difficult to stay positive.”