Editor’s note: Gethers no longer missing; returned shortly before 8 a.m. Monday. Updates on the Newsroom. Original story:
City and University police have launched a missing persons investigation for GW student Royal Gethers after friends reported that the senior has been missing since just before 2 a.m. Saturday.
Lt. Ralph Neal of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Second District, which includes Foggy Bottom, confirmed MPD is investigating the report as a missing persons case. Neal said the case is currently “non-critical” and that investigations are designated as critical only when the missing person is very young, very old, or has a mental or medical condition.
As of press time, University Police Chief Dolores Stafford had not returned requests for comment.
Former student Monet Flowers said Gethers walked her and a friend to South Hall early Saturday morning, and Gethers told her he was returning to his 1959 E Street residence hall. Flowers said UPD told her that Gethers’ GWorld was swiped into 1959 E Street at 1:59 a.m. but Flowers said his roommates, who were home and awake at the time, did not see him come in.
When Gethers did not show up to an event at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, Flowers said she knew something was wrong.
“I could possibly see him sleeping in – but I couldn’t see him not texting me and apologizing,” Flowers said. She said she went to his room later that day and his roommates said Gethers had not returned home.
“That’s when I got scared,” Flowers said, adding she reported Gethers missing to UPD first on Saturday and again to MPD on Sunday afternoon.
Flowers said Gethers was wearing “a tan hoodie, light blue jeans and white Air Force sneakers.” He is African American, 22 years old, 6-feet-2-inches tall and 180 pounds.
Ally Petrilla, who graduated from the University in May and is helping to coordinate the search for Gethers, said their tight-knit group of friends is worried and scared, especially because being out of contact is out of character for Gethers.
“That’s why people are so upset – he’s not irresponsible at all,” she said. “We have contacted hospitals, even morgues, everything in a 30-mile radius.”
She added, “We have people going to his classes tomorrow, hoping that he just shows up there.”
Flowers described Gethers as “meticulous” and said he keeps his receipts organized by date and time and his prized hat collection in plastic bags. After seeing his room, she said she thinks Gethers did not return home or decide to go away for the weekend.
“I can tell you two things about Royal: he can eat and he would not leave without his hat,” she said.
Flowers said students and friends are posting flyers and are using social media in an attempt to find Gethers.
“He’s like our brother. We are all from different states and we are the closest thing we have to family in D.C.,” she said. “We’re doing everything we can think of.”
This article appeared in the October 26, 2009 issue of the Hatchet.