Mercyhurst College Student Jenni-Lyn Watson Vanishes While Home on Break

PHOTO Authorities in upstate New York are searching for a missing college student, Jenni-Lyn Watson, who disappeared after returning home for Thanksgiving break.PlayABC News
WATCH College Student Vanishes From Home

Authorities in upstate New York are searching for a college student who went missing Friday after returning home for Thanksgiving break.

Jenni-Lyn Watson, 20, was last seen at her family's home in Liverpool, N.Y., near Syracuse, on Nov. 19.

Onondaga County Sheriff deputies, firefighters and U.S. Marshals are using information obtained from her cell phone records to search a large wooded area in the northern suburbs of Syracuse.

"This is an area that has shown up on her cell phone records," Onondaga County Undersheriff Warren Darby told ABC News Syracuse affiliate WSYR. "We wanted to make sure her phone wasn't left here and if it was, we wanted to recover it because it may have some more information."

Neighbor Stacey Kinahan told WSYR that it was unusual for Watson, a student at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa, to be out of touch with her family.

"It's completely unlike her. She's a ballerina, a wonderful student, keeps in touch with her family, loves her family. It's very out of character for her not to contact anybody," she said.

Friends and Family Continue Their Search

Since her disappearance, Watson's friends and family continue to hand out more than 1,000 missing person fliers daily.

A Facebook group has been created to help find Watson. It now has more than 17,000 members.

According to a neighbor interviewed by the Post-Standard, Watson was last seen at home Friday morning with her parents and 17-year-old sister. When they returned home Friday afternoon, Watson was gone, along with her cell phone. Watson's purse, wallet and house keys were still at home.

Authorities are urging people to call if they have information but not to look for Watson on their own, saying it would interfere with the investigation.

Jenni-Lyn's mother, Jackie Watson, delivered the same message in a written statement: "Thank you for all of the offers of help and assistance. It is greatly appreciated. At this time, we ask that you respect the advice of the Sheriff's Department and do not go near the designated search area. Professionals are covering that part of the search. However, what you can do is check any property you own, to include buildings, basements, sheds or places that you do not normally spend time in."

Police will not confirm if they had a suspect in the case.

Friends say they would not give up searching for Watson.

"I'm hoping that someone will see Jenni-Lyn's photo, recognize seeing her in the past day or two or three because it's been four, and report it immediately to the Sheriff's Department and it will be a good lead to bring her back home," Kinahan told WSYR.