CHESTERTOWN, Md (WJZ) — WJZ learns the FBI has joined the search for a missing Washington College student, who may be armed and dangerous. Now, the school decides to stay closed for the next week and a half.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren with the new developments.
It is rare for a college campus to close, and for this long. Family members of the young man at the center of the investigation worry that recent troubles that led to him resigning a student government post may have been his breaking point.
Jacob Marberger’s father pleaded for him to come home, with new details emerging about how his son’s life unraveled. The FBI and local officials are in an intense search for the troubled Washington College student, whose disappearance caused the school to shut down through next week.
“I was born and raised here,” said Austin Short.
Hellgren: “Have you ever seen anything like this?”
Short: “In this town? No. Chestertown’s a quiet town.”
Fellow student Matthew Dimond is one of the few still on campus.
“A lot of people are concerned about him, as well as concerned for themselves because there really is very little information about what’s happening,” he said.
College officials and friends describe Marberger’s life falling apart. The promising sophomore reported being bullied on October 7, then got in trouble when authorities say he held an antique rifle while drunk at his frat house–but never threatened anyone.
“In speaking with Jacob, he did feel persecuted by several students on campus,” said Jerry Roderick, public safety director.
For Marberger, life in Chestertown quickly went downhill. He was kicked out of his fraternity, left his student government post and faced expulsion from the college.
In the wake of what his father described in a public report as a difficult week on campus, Marberger returned home to Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, where he disappeared with a rifle case.
He was last spotted Monday at a Walmart in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
“Real nice gentleman,” said Tony McLain, Marberger’s acquaintance. “It’s a shock to me.”
In post after post on social media, people called Marberger a good man, loved, and wrote they just want him to be OK, as the campus remains eerily quiet and closed, although there have been no direct threats.
Marberger’s loved ones are planning a vigil for him Wednesday night in Pennsylvania. He was last seen buying ammunition on surveillance video, but his phone has not sent any pings or signals since Monday.
The president of Washington College says the decision to keep the school closed is based on continuing consultation with law enforcement.