Missing Chicago Student's Family Conducting Own Search
The family of a University of Chicago student who vanished during a powerful storm last week intends today to review surveillance videos from restaurants, bars and shops near Lake Michigan hoping for a glimpse of the missing man.
Austin Hudson-LaPore, 20, a third-year biochemistry major from New Mexico, was last seen by his roommate a little after 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. He had not taken his wallet or phone, according to a website set up by the Hudson-LaPore family, www.findaustinhudson.com.
The website was updated on Sunday to say that the Chicago Police Department have sent divers and a sonar boat to investigate a portion of Lake Michigan near Hudson-LaPore's apartment. The police have not released the results of that search.
"In the end, we had no news so we assume they found nothing," the family wrote.
The family said on its website that they are doing their own search and sought out commercial surveillance cameras on the route they believe Hudson-LaPore may have taken that night.
"We found several of these cameras with some at restaurants with outdoor seating, at dive bars, at liquor stores and at high end condo buildings. Everyone we approached were very welcoming and eager to help. So, tomorrow morning we'll head out early to start watching security tapes to see if we can get a glimpse of Austin. That will establish time and direction of travel for him," they wrote Sunday.
They also appealed for help from anyone who may have seen Hudson-LaPore that night.
"We love Austin very much. He is a smart, happy and outgoing young man who is fully engaged in the community and we'd like your help in getting him safely back to his family," the family said in a statement.
The family believe Hudson-LaPore went for a walk Wednesday night to observe unusually severe weather over Lake Michigan.
"We think that because of Austin's fascination with weather, that he set out to walk to the lake to watch the storm from there, leaving his cell phone and wallet behind so they wouldn't get wet," the family said.
Weather reports from Wednesday night show that that Hudson-LaPore would have likely faced powerful winds and heavy rain as a massive storm system made its way through the Midwest.
"In walking to the lake, he probably walked along either 53rd Street or 55th Street. We believe that during his walk to the lake, something went wrong," the family continued.
The family is asking anybody with information to contact the Chicago Police Department. They are using social media sites like Reditt, Tumblr, and Twitter to gain national attention.
"We are appealing to the community that if anyone saw anything unusual along those routes, that they please contact the Chicago Police Department immediately," the family said.
Hudson-LaPore was last-seen wearing black gym shoes and blue jeans. He is 5-foot-7, weighs 110 pounds and has blonde hair and blue eyes.
A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department told ABC News that the investigation is ongoing.