Ground Searches For Missing Student End
Police Convinced Davis Has Left the Holyoke Area
The search for freshman Ryan M. Davis '10, who has been missing since March 31, has been called off after the South Hadley Police found no signs of Davis or his whereabouts. Intensive ground search operations in the buildings, wooded areas, and mountains in and around Mount Holyoke College, where he was last seen, were called off, according to an article published in The Patriot Ledger Wednesday.
The search involved multiple police agencies, 10 dogs, and a state helicopter, states an article published in The Republican, a local newspaper for the South Hadley area. Officials are continuing to monitor his cell phone and credit cards for activity, the article states.
According to the Registrar's office, Davis was last a registered MIT student on March 13, one day after an arrest for illegal drug possession.
Detective Todd T. Dineen of the South Hadley Police told The Republican Wednesday that Davis' drug charges in Cambridge have no effect on the search. "It's an open case and we are continuing to follow up leads," Dineen said to The Republican. Dineen was not in the police station yesterday afternoon and was unavailable for comment.
After Davis' departure from MIT, where he was an East Campus resident, he stayed at Mt. Holyoke College with his alleged ex-girlfriend until his disappearance on March 31.
According to an article in The Republican, Davis left a note on the Mt. Holyoke College campus that caused concern for Davis' safety.
South Hadley Police Chief David LaBrie told The Patriot Ledger that the note "was just a rambling letter; nothing specific," LaBrie said. "That's why we're not deeming it a suicide note. … It's a 50-50 call if he just wanted to leave or if he wanted to harm himself." LaBrie did not return a call from The Tech for comment.
LaBrie told the Ledger that he believed Davis was no longer in the immediate area. LaBrie also said that the South Hadley Police "contacted all his acquaintances and friends" and that "his parents have been up here several times and I'm sure they've done that with all the contacts they know."
Davis' parents previously declined to speak with The Tech, and it is unclear if MIT has been in contact with the Davis family.
Chancellor Phillip L. Clay said that the Institute rarely contacts parents. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), MIT is legally prohibited from contacting parents in many circumstances.
Regarding general disciplinary action, Clay said "our policy is that parents would not be contacted. … It's usually not appropriate."
Clay said that the decision to contact parents is up to Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict but that those calls are rare.
"The number of calls that Larry makes to families … is very, very small," Clay said. "He could probably count them on one hand."
Benedict said in an e-mail to The Tech that the case was "a police matter" but did not comment further.
EC Housemaster Kate Delaney declined to comment on EC's response to Davis' disappearance or the availability of counselors.
Davis' disappearance came after an incident on the evening of March 12, when MIT Police were dispatched to EC after a suspicious device was discovered in the dormitory hobby shop.
The device, which was emitting chlorine gas, prompted a response from the Cambridge Fire Department, the bomb squad, and MIT's Office of Environment, Health, and Safety, according to MIT Police records filed with the Cambridge courts. The device was allegedly built by Davis to perform electrolysis of sodium chloride and potassium chloride.
When questioned by police, Davis waived his Miranda rights and consented to a search of his room, the narrative states. Police discovered an assortment of chemicals and illegal drugs in Davis' room, enough evidence to apply for an arrest warrant with the Cambridge District Court. Davis was arrested on March 15 and charged with two misdemeanor counts of possession of a class B controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, and one felony count of possession of a class B controlled substance with intent to distribute. Davis was released on $300 bail, according to booking records.
People with information regarding Davis' disappearance have been asked to call the South Hadley Police at (413) 358-8231. More information on Davis, including court documents regarding Davis's warrant, booking, and criminal docket are available on The Tech's Web site at http://www-tech.mit.edu/V127/N17/.