A college student who earned straight A's and sent thousands of text messages to his family and friends each month has vanished in Washington, where authorities are scouring a university campus for the missing 18-year-old.
Dwight Clark was last seen in the early morning hours of Sept. 26 when he left an off-campus party at Western Washington University to go back to his dorm, less than a mile away, according to authorities in Bellingham, Wash.
"We are calling this a highly suspicious missing person (case)," said Mark Young, the public information officer for the Bellingham Police Department. "This has got us all very concerned as well as really curious as to what happened. We're more than just curious -- we're baffled by what has occurred."
Young said that while authorities are not certain foul play is involved in Clark's disappearance, the series of details regarding the case are certainly cause for suspicion.
"Despite extensive searching, canine scent dogs, and numerous -- hundreds -- of volunteers, no evidence of any kind has been obtained to substantiate or indicate what happened to Clark," said Young.
Clark was seen leaving the apartment of a friend's house at approximately 2 a.m. on Sept. 26, There are conflicting reports about whether Clark had been drinking at the party, said Young.
"But after 2 a.m. after that party, nothing," said Young. "He hasn't been seen or heard from."
The college freshman, who had started classes just a week before he disappeared, was not known to take drugs and if he had been drinking the night he went missing, friends said he was "not inebriated to the point of not knowing where he was or what he was doing."
About forty minutes after he left the party, Clark sent what authorities are describing as a "phantom text," or a blank text message from his phone.
"Clark is a prolific text messager," said Young. "He sent more than 5,000 texts last month alone and he was always on his phone contacting and connecting with his mother and his girlfriend."
"But this text had nothing written in it, it was a blank message," said Young.
A trace of the text showed it was sent from downtown Bellingham, which Young said was in the opposite direction from Clark's dormitory.
Kaylie Evans, a friend of Clark's, told ABC News' Seattle, Wash. affiliate KOMO-TV that the cell phone behavior is not typical of the college freshman.
"He never had his phone off," she said. "It was always on, texting."
Clark's credit cards have not been used and his car is still parked near his residence hall on campus, said Young.
"He was loving life," Young said of Clark. "His main hobby was skateboarding and he never missed a day of school. So far, he had been liking his classes here."
After more than a week without any leads, Young confirmed that authorities are now investigating a cryptic message left on one of the missing poster's distributed to help find Clark.
The message, scrawled on a poster tacked to a telephone pole read, "Dead stabbed 17 times, RIP brother god bless."
"It certainly doesn't seem to be something that is credible right now," said Young. "We're not going to just assume that but we'd love to speak to the person who left that message."
"Despite an extensive ground search we found no evidence of a crime scene related to that [note]," said Young.
Reached by telephone at the Clark family's Auburn, Wash., home, an aunt of Clark's who declined to give her name said that they could not comment on the story and were focusing on the search for her nephew.
Clark's mother, Raelyn Clark, told KOMO, "Somebody knows where my baby is at, where he's at. I need him. I need him home."
"You know, I'm sure these people are thinking, 'What if it was mine?' I don't know why it's mine. Why is it my son?" said Clark.
"It makes no sense for him to just disappear. He doesn't know enough people up here to go anywhere," Clark told KOMO. "The people he was with - those are the people he knows up here."