The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Missing student found

Kate Antonacci | Friday, August 26, 2005


Police cancelled their search for Stephen Liu, the Notre Dame sophomore who went missing Thursday morning, after he was located in northern St. Joseph County Friday afternoon, authorities said.Liu, 19, was located by police after a tow truck driver spotted thestudent and recognized his car and physical description from news reports, said Captain Philip Trent, public information officer for the South Bend Police.Liu is “safe and fine,” Trent said in a press release. Trent could not be reached for further comment Friday.

Police are searching for a Notre Dame sophomore reported missing Thursday morning after his mother feared he was “leaving and not coming back,” authorities said.

Stephen Liu, a 19-year old Asian male, was reported missing between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Thursday by his mother, said Capt. Philip Trent, public information officer for the South Bend Police Department.

“His mother was concerned because he is not thoroughly aware of his surroundings,” Trent said.

Liu, from Cherry Hills, N.J., was last seen in the early hours of Thursday morning on the east side of South Bend, though Trent was uncertain with whom Liu was last seen.

Foul play is not suspected in the case, which is being handled primarily by South Bend Police Detective Albert DeRoo, Trent said.

Liu, described by his freshman year roommate as “very, very introverted,” lives alone at Park Jefferson Apartments, an off-campus apartment complex located at 3001 E. Jefferson Blvd. in South Bend, Trent said.

Only five percent of Park Jefferson residents are Notre Dame students, said Kathryn Mary, manager of the complex.

The student is thought to be driving a 1995 black, four-door Infiniti G-20 with a KWD53P New Jersey license plate. Liu was last seen wearing a white T-shirt with green lettering, tan shorts and green and brown tennis shoes. He is 5-foot-6 and approximately 165 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

“[Notre Dame Security/Police] are assisting South Bend police in any way that they ask,” University spokesman Matt Storin said. “We’re extremely concerned, although at this point we think it is premature to form any conclusions.”

Liu’s mother had been in South Bend all week moving her son into his residence, and became concerned Thursday morning when she noticed he was missing, Trent said.

“We’re using [the Liu family’s] level of concern as our guidelines,” Trent said. “[Mrs. Liu] is concerned that he’s a young man and a student, and she got the feeling that he was leaving and not coming back.”

Trent said police are primarily concerned with locating Liu and verifying the student’s well-being.

“All we’re interested in is his welfare. Normally we wouldn’t involve ourselves in an adult choosing to leave,” Trent said. “They’re suspecting he was having problems adjusting, and his mother is concerned.”

Trent said that though missing persons reports are usually filed after the subject is gone for 24 hours, the report can be entered at any time.

“This is not something we would normally do. We’ve entered him as a missing person, which is no sweat for us,” Trent said.

It is unknown what kind of access Liu has to funds, Trent said, adding that if police thought it necessary, the department could write up a “sincere, legitimate reason for a judge” and gain a subpoena to track any sort of credit card and banking information.

Liu’s freshman year roommate in Siegfried Hall, sophomore Victor Oreskovich, said that a similar situation occurred last year.

“We were roommates last year, and all of a sudden, last spring, he stopped staying in the room,” Oreskovich said. “A few weeks later, he came back and left me a note saying that he would be staying with friends for the rest of the year. That is the last time I heard from him.”

According to Oreskovich, Liu is a “very, very introverted” man.

“He was very studious and kept to himself,” Oreskovich said. “He didn’t really socialize.”

Though Oreskovich only met Liu’s parents once, he described them as being “very hard on him.” Oreskovich did not know how they reacted to Liu’s spring disappearance.

“At this time, something doesn’t feel right to the family,” Trent said. “We want to help them out.”

Notre Dame Security/Police director Rex Rakow and assistant director Philip Johnson declined to comment on the case, though they did confirm that NDSP met with Liu’s family Thursday afternoon.

Storin and Johnson both declined to comment on details of the meeting. Trent said the future of the case depends on how the family wants to proceed with it.