Hundreds of volunteers turned out Monday to help search for missing Crestwood college student Jim Sylvester, 21, who has not been seen or heard from since late Wednesday evening on March 27.
A Facebook page has been created to exchange information about the missing man, “Help Find Jim Sylvester.”
On Monday, with Illinois license plate N253967, in Happy Hyundai plate frames. Later in the day, a prayer vigil was held at Incarnation Catholic Church in Palos Heights.
While volunteers could not turn up Jimmy’s car, police told his family that they had received a lead from a “credible source” saying that Jimmy was spotted in Oak Forest around 10 a.m. Monday, according to a family member.
There was also concern that a person struck and killed by a Metra train near New Lenox early Monday morning might be the missing college student, but Crestwood Det. Sgt. Chris Soderlund told Patch that the Metra victim was not Jimmy Sylvester.
Before Jimmy’s cell phone was shut off, Soderlund said that the college student’s cell phone showed transmission activity late Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning of last week between Crestwood and Palos Heights.
“One way or another we’d like to get some resolution for the family,” Soderlund said. “Unfortunately, there has been no recent phone activity. As of right now, there are no new developments.”
Monday’s search included canvassing Southland neighborhoods with thousands of fliers. Jimmy’s parents, James III and Katie, and his younger sister, Amanda, remain devastated awaiting his safe return.
His father, also named Jim, issued a plea over youtube.com, asking for his son to "call us, drop a letter in the mail, anything." The senior Jim Sylvester said that if the public were to find his son's car, to not approach it but to call Crestwood police immediately.
"We have a dog on standby that can pick up the scent," the missing college student's father said.
Jimmy is described as a stable, ambitious college student majoring in computer networks. He was due to graduate from DeVry University in June. Many of the missing college students’ friends dedicated their entire day searching for Jimmy into the night.
News media have also reported that Jimmy was distraught over a recent breakup with his girlfriend, Stasia Rasa, but family members say the couple were in the process of reuniting.
Jimmy’s girlfriend, Stasia, remains supportive and close to her missing boyfriend’s family.
Stasia has issued this special message to Jimmy:
"I love you, having you in my life has made me a better person. You are my one true love and I truly truly love you! You always know how to make me laugh and you bring out the best in me. You have a very special place in my heart that could never be replaced. The memories we created are so significant to me, from the time you helped me catch my first fish to our rode trips to Nashville. These are memories we will always cherish and I look forward to creating many more memories with you. Please come home so we can continue our journey into the future."
Jimmy’s aunt, MaryJane Nowdomski, of Cedar Lake, Ind., said that Jimmy’s family is asking for continued TV, print and Internet news coverage to get Jimmy’s picture out to the public, so that they son and brother can be found. Unsure of what has happened to Jimmy, his family is crying out for help in bringing him home safely.
“We are extremely thankful for the outpouring of support from friends, family, neighbors and even complete strangers," his aunt said. “Many of Jimmy's friends dedicated the entire day and into the night searching for him. The family is also very grateful to the Crestwood Police Department for their efforts being made to find their son.”
He is described as white, 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds with brown hair, blue eyes and a reddish-brown beard, police said. He was last seen wearing a brown Carhartt jacket and black gym shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crestwood police at 708-385-5131 or 708-371-4800.