Missing Persons Report Filed for NDSU Student

University Police Chief William Vandel, left, and Fargo Police Lieutenant Joel Vettel address the media Monday in front of the campus police building.

Update: 11 p.m. Sept. 22

After a day of searching, NDSU student Thomas Bearson is still unaccounted for.

The Fargo Police Department used K-9 units and foot officers around the 800 block of 14th Street North Monday.

By Monday night, the perimeter of the search had been expanded to south of 8th Avenue North up the 14th Street North corridor.

Fargo police stationed multiple vehicles in a lot south of Dakota Drive and 8th Avenue North Monday, west of Sun Mart on University Drive.

The Fargo Fire Department sent out search boats on the Red River for a cursory search, not finding anything from 35th Avenue South to 12th Avenue North.

Fargo police took to social media to keep the community updated.

“Fargo fire and police have concluded their foot search of pertinent areas,” a Facebook status posted by Fargo police around 8 p.m. Monday read. “We continue to follow up leads as they develop.”

Fargo police encouraged all city property owners in another Facebook post to check their respective buildings.

Around 450 phones were also contacted by the Fargo PD’s codeRED system, informing citizens within the search area of the missing student.

Update: 2:30 p.m. Sept. 22

University and Fargo police addressed the media at 12:30 p.m. Monday regarding missing North Dakota State student Tom Bearson.

Lt. Joel Vettel said Bearson, 18, was last contacted at 3:40 a.m. Saturday.

Bearson, a Sartell, Minn. native, was last seen near the 800 block of 14th Street North.

Bearson is 6 feet, 1 inch tall and was wearing a hat, a blue Sartell track and field shirt and khaki pants when he was last seen.

Attempts to contact Bearson via cell phone have failed; Vettel said the Fargo PD are in contact with Bearson’s cell phone company.

Timothy Alvarez, the NDSU vice president for student affairs, said Sunday night that the university was looking into surveillance footage on campus.

Vettel said he cannot confirm anything has been found on tape.

A missing persons report has been filed, Vettel said. The Fargo PD has taken over the case from University Police as the search expands south of campus northward.

K-9 units and the Fargo Fire Department river search team were to be deployed Monday afternoon, Vettel said. Boats are being used on the Red River only as a “precautionary” measure.

However, Vettel warns concerned citizens to not form search parties at this time.

Vettel said the Fargo PD wants to conduct a thorough search, and searchers may impede such goals.

“Our ultimate goal is to find this young man,” Vettel said.

William Vandel, NDSU’s police chief, said no foul play is expected at this time nor are police treating this any different than locating a missing person.

Vettel cannot confirm whether alcohol was a factor.

A welfare check was completed Saturday night after Bearson’s family contacted University Police.

Vettel said “99 percent of the time” police are able to make contact with the person subject to the welfare check.

Bearson was to leave with a group of classmates for Sartell, Minn., around noon Saturday.

Freshman Tom Bearson
Freshman Tom Bearson

First reported at 9 p.m. Sept. 21

A search is underway for a first-year North Dakota State student, who went missing sometime early Saturday morning, Timothy Alvarez, the NDSU vice president for student affairs, said Sunday night at a news conference in the Memorial Union.

Tom Bearson, a freshman majoring in nursing from Sartell, Minn., was last seen early Saturday morning at a party.

He is described by fellow Sartell-native Kenzie Grabow as being over six feet tall and athletic, often wearing hats with Nike shoes and taller socks.

She said Bearson was going back to the resident halls after being with friends. Alvarez said Bearson was seen on video and lives at Reed Hall.

A tweet was sent from Bearson’s apparent Twitter account the morning of his disappearance. In it, an unknown person named Jake tweets from Bearson’s account to Cody Mead.

“We are so lost and we are going to die,” the tweet reads. “Just get somebody.”

Mead put on his own Twitter account Sunday that Tom was at his house after the initial tweet was posted.

“He’s super outgoing and would talk to just about everyone he saw,” Grabow said. “I just hope we find him and everything is okay.”

Campus police are working with the Fargo Police Department on the case.

People with any information on Bearson’s disappearance are encouraged to call campus police at 701-231-8998.

This tweet was sent 1:23 a.m. Sept. 20. Call campus police if you have any information regarding the disappearance.
This tweet was sent 1:23 a.m. Sept. 20. Call campus police if you have any information regarding the disappearance.

NDSU police can also be reached via text at 701-526-6006.

This is a developing story; updates will be added when further information is released.

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