Senior Royal Gethers returned to campus early Monday morning, after lack of contact with friends prompted them to file missing persons reports with both city and University police over the weekend.
Gethers said Monday evening he had gone with a girl to Virginia, but that he stopped at a friend’s house in Maryland and left his phone there.
The senior said he is “remorseful” about the situation and is sorry he put his friends through a traumatic experience last weekend, but said Monday evening that “right now it’s kind of hysterical,” referring to his experience seeing himself on the front page of Monday morning’s Hatchet.
“It’s fine, I love them,” Gethers said referring to his friends who began the search for him. “Even though when I saw the paper today I started busting out laughing, but at the same time I thought I had great friends on my side.”
Gethers’ roommate told Monet Flowers, a former student who helped coordinate the search, he had not seen Gethers early Saturday morning. But Gethers said he returned to his room and had a 15-minute conversation with his roommate before heading out to Virginia for the weekend.
“I told him I was leaving for the weekend and I get back and I’m in The Hatchet,” Gethers said.
Gethers said he questions why the University did not review security tapes to see that he had entered his residence hall the evening of his supposed disappearance.
University Police Chief Dolores Stafford said in an e-mail Tuesday that UPD was first notified of the situation at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. UPD conducted a preliminary investigation and was in contact with MPD over the weekend, she said.
Flowers said a friend had gone to Gethers’ 8 a.m. class to see if he would be there Monday morning. Gethers’ roommate called her shortly before 8 a.m. to say he had returned. The friend also confirmed Gethers had made it to class, Flowers said.
Gethers posted a message at 7:47 a.m. Monday morning on the Facebook group created after he was said to be missing, apologizing for making his friends worry.
Flowers said she was happy Gethers was safe, but added “he needs to be embarrassed all day long.”
“I’m so happy. I’m so glad that he’s safe and I’m so happy that we are all gonna go to his room and yell at him for doing this,” she said Monday morning.
Lt. Ralph Neal of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Second District said situations where a missing person simply returns are not uncommon.
Stafford said UPD receives missing persons reports a few times a year.
“In all of the cases I can recall, the person usually turns up within 48 hours, but once we receive a report from a friend or family member, we initiate an investigation to try to locate them,” she said.
Emily Cahn contributed to this report.