Hundreds search across Portland for Owen Klinger
Update: Family and friends of Owen Klinger say they're searing day and night for the missing 18-year-old University of Portland student.
"There are about 100 people out this morning at Pier Park, Cathedral Park, Columbia Park and Forest Park," Susan Lennertz, a friend of the Klinger family, said Saturday morning, Oct. 12.
Klinger went missing Sunday, Oct. 6.
News of Klinger's disappearance galvanized friends and peers of the teen into a city-wide search.
"We're searching in earnest day and night," Lennertz said.
Two days prior to Saturday's north Portland search, hundreds gathered for a candlelight prayer vigil in the midst of a continuing search for Klinger to share a common message: "We won't give up."
Klinger's parents, Mary and Dustin, were joined in song and prayer by family friends, acquaintances and peers of the 18-year-old University of Portland student Thursday night, Oct. 10 at his college campus.
"We gather to give each other hope and reassurance that we are not giving up," Fr. Jim Gallagher said Thursday.
Flames from hundreds of candles lit up an otherwise dark and cold courtyard, as attendees shared moments of silent prayer and reflection.
"All the candles lit for him and all the energy, it's beautiful," Mary Klinger said, noting she and her husband were holding up, but "no one is really strong enough for this."
Klinger is 6 foot 1 inch tall, 165 pounds and has long brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, jeans with sneakers, and a drawstring backpack. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
Klinger just started his first year of college at UP after graduating from Grant High School in Portland. His roommates say after leaving Christie Hall at the UP campus on foot Sunday evening around 7:30 p.m., he never returned. Surveillance footage from that evening shows Klinger near a TriMet bus stop, but Klinger's mother says the agency reviewed its footage and Klinger didn't get on a bus. He was last seen leaving the campus and walking toward Lombard Street. His parents say his phone records show no activity after Sunday evening.
An active search for the missing student is underway by Portland Police Bureau, but the family has also seen a groundswell of community support. Neighbors and friends of the family have been making maps and canvassing neighborhoods, distributing fliers and spreading the word about Klinger's disappearance. They've also established social media sites and answered phone calls on behalf of Mary and Dustin Klinger.
His parents say it's not like him to keep his phone off, or take off and not return or tell anybody about his whereabouts.
"He's a kid that's not ever late for stuff, let alone not come home," Dustin Klinger said of his son.
Mary and Dustin Klinger said their son is a middle child, has a peaceful demeanor and didn't show any signs of having trouble at school or his new dorm.
They said his roommates checked his grades in a university database and he's doing well in classes.
Friends of the Klinger family are asking anyone who lives near the UP campus in northeast Portland and might have security cameras to check the footage for signs of Klinger passing by.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.