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Former Saint Mary’s student reported missing near Chicago

and | Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Former Saint Mary’s student Tiffany Keokanlaya of South Elgin, Illinois, was reported missing by her family Saturday night, a news release from the South Elgin Police Department said.

The police release said Keokanlaya used a family credit card to purchase a train ticket at the Metra station in Elgin, a village about 40 miles west of Chicago. She was last seen on video Saturday in Chicago near Union Station at the intersection of Canal Street and Jackson Boulevard.

Photo courtesy of Courtney Souvannasacd

Keokanlaya is 19 years old. The release describes her as an Asian female with black hair and brown eyes who is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 151 pounds. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, blue jeans and glasses and carrying a black backpack and black suitcase, the release said.

Keokanlaya was with another Asian female who appeared to be the same age, and she did not appear to be in distress, the release said. Keokanlaya has no known health-related issues, but police said her leaving the family home without notice is unusual.

Police suspect no foul play at this time, but are seeking the public’s assistance in locating Keokanlaya and ensuring she is in good health.

Keokanlaya’s brothers Josh and Jon, and her cousin Courtney Souvannasacd created the Facebook page “Bring Tiffany Home” for updates on her whereabouts.

Keokanlaya’s father, Vanlob Keokanlaya, said family and friends are working to find her.

“We love her and miss her and want her to come home,” he said.

A GoFundMe created Wednesday in support of the Keokanlaya family raised over $1,500 in the span of a day for “the search efforts and costs associated with finding and bringing [the family’s] daughter/sister home.”

Saint Mary’s senior Liv Sencion met Keokanlaya through Belles Connect, a Multicultural Services Office program for first generation, international, underrepresented and home-schooled students. Keokanlaya was in the process of transferring to Elgin Community College, and is listed in the Saint Mary’s directory as an “ex-student,” but Sencion said she still holds a place in the Saint Mary’s community.

“She is still a part of our SMC community,” Sencion said in an Instagram direct message. “She was [a] Belles Connect Scholar and always will be.”

Anyone with information about Keokanlaya’s whereabouts should contact the South Elgin Police Department at (847) 741-2151.

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