Community bands together to find student

Jon Lacina was last seen leaving a friend’s residence at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 22. His father reported him missing to ISU Police at 8:39 a.m. Saturday. Courtesy photo: Facebook

Sarah Haas and Jessica Opoien – S

The focus of the search for missing ISU student Jon Lacina shifted indoors Sunday night, as university staff searched all vacant residence hall rooms for signs of Lacina.

“Statistically, Ames is a safe community,” said Annette Hacker, ISU News Service director. “Police have no evidence that would indicate Jon Lacina has been harmed in any way, but it’s always good for people to be cognizant of their surroundings.”

Lacina, senior in graphic design, was last seen Jan. 22 leaving 300 Stanton Ave. at approximately 9:30 p.m. His father, Tom, reported him missing to ISU Police on Saturday.

“Right now, nobody knows where Jon Lacina is,” Hacker said. “The search started Saturday as soon as his father reported him missing. It intensified today and included trained searchers, 110 of them.”

Mercy One, a life flight helicopter from Des Moines, conducted an aerial search Sunday, while the Iowa State Patrol provided a plane to search a larger area. A dive team searched Lake LaVerne, and a canine team tried to pick up Lacina’s scent.

Hacker said the greek community has searched its houses. The Memorial Union, State Gym and Beyer Hall have also been searched.

Ground searches have been conducted by ISU Police and other local law enforcement agencies, in the area between Campustown and Buchanan Hall. Teams have searched through woods, backyards, garages, buildings and outbuildings in the area where Lacina was last seen.

Dione Somerville, dean of students, said the Critical Incidents Response Team has met regularly to help coordinate Iowa State’s response to the emergency.

“We’ll hopefully see a resolution soon,” Somerville said.

Monday, Facilities Planning and Management employees will search campus buildings and remote areas, including steam tunnels.

“I think everybody is doing what they can to try to locate Jon, and anyone who has information about his whereabouts is really encouraged to contact law enforcement,” Somerville said.

Community members and friends have established a strong online presence dedicated to finding Lacina. A Facebook group called “Help find Jon Lacina!” created by Aaron Pierce, a family friend, has over 4,000 members.

“He’s one of my best friends, and his family is in my thoughts and prayers,” said Parker Peterson, junior in graphic design.

Ames residents are encouraged to examine their properties. An ISU News Service release asks people to look for a discarded wallet, piece of clothing or cell phone. If found, the items should not be touched. Anyone with information about, Lacina since Jan. 22 is asked to call the ISU Police at 515-294-4428, or 911.

What We Know:

  • Jon Lacina, 21, of Grinnell, is a senior in graphic design. He was last seen leaving a friend’s residence at 300 Stanton Ave. at about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 22. His father, Tom, reported him missing to ISU Police at 8:39 a.m. Saturday.
  • Lacina is a white male, with brown hair and green eyes. He is 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 155 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black coat and blue jeans.
  • Ames residents are encouraged to search in and around their property. If anything suspicious is found, it should not be touched.
  • Anyone with information regarding Lacina since Jan. 22 should call ISU Police at 515-294-4428 or the Ames Police Department at 515-239-5133.