All of a sudden they were everywhere. Since the end of winter break at Castleton State College, there has been an onslaught of posters that no student, professor, or visitor on campus can miss.
These posters are part of a larger campaign that our neighboring college, Middlebury College, hopes will help to find missing student Nicholas Garza, a 19 year-old freshman from Albuquerque, N.M.
Tim Spears, the dean of Middlebury College and the official spokesman about the Garza case, urged all Castleton students to watch out for Garza
“[They should] pay attention to the missing posters of Nick and think carefully whether or not they have seen anybody that looks like Nick Garza. If [they] do see such a person, they should report that information to the Middlebury Police Department,” he said.
The campaign began after Garza disappeared without a trace on the night of Feb. 5, 2008.
According to a Web site devoted to Garza’s disappearance, www.nicholasgarza.org/, Garza was last seen at 11:05 p.m. as he was returning to his dormitory room.
The college was on winter break.
Garza’s panic-ridden mother, Natalie Garza, filed a missing person report with the Middlebury Police Department on Feb. 10.
Mrs. Garza had been unable to reach her son since Feb. 5.
According to the Middlebury College student newspaper, The Campus, the Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team, commanded by Lt. Jocelyn Stohl, arrived on campus Feb. 11 with close to 100 people ready to search.
The ground search continued until Feb. 28, when the Search and Rescue Team and EquuSearch, an independent search team from Texas brought in by Mrs. Garza, unanimously decided to suspend the search due to few results and poor weather.
“Snow is not our friend right now by any means, and that certainly compounds the effort to find [Nick],” said Stohl.
Later that day, Middlebury Chief of Police, Thomas Hanley, issued a press release confirming that the ground search had been “suspended indefinitely” because of the weather conditions around campus.
“The search of the campus grounds to date [has] been deemed to have less than a 50 percent chance of detection due to layers of snow and ice and the inability to probe to ground level,” wrote Hanley in the press release.
When asked what Castleton Sate College can do to help prevent a situation like this from occurring on its campus, Castleton President Dave Wolk replied that, given such circumstances, little can be done.
Spears said that if Castleton students want to become more involved in the Garza search, they certainly can.
Spears suggested that those students could join the Facebook group “Middlebury College Student Nick Garza Is Missing” and could donate to the fund set up to support the Garza family in this time of need.
Information about that fund is located at the Web site www.nicholasgarza.org/.