No new clues in search for St. Thomas student

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune s taff w riter
  • Updated: April 7, 2009 - 12:01 AM

Hundreds of University of St. Thomas students looked for fellow student Dan Zamlen, a diabetic. A bloodhound found a scent but the trail went cold.

More than 500 students, a helicopter, a boat and a bloodhound searched Monday for missing University of St. Thomas freshman Dan Zamlen, but found no new clues.

Zamlen, who turns 19 on Wednesday, was reported missing about 2:30 a.m. Sunday by friends who were on the phone with him when his cell phone abruptly cut out. Friends said that he was upset and that they heard him call out for help before the conversation ended.

"It's impossible to make sense of [his disappearance], but we're holding out hope," said Zach Dziura, a freshman at St. Thomas.

Dziura teamed up with classmate Zach Pagano Monday and traipsed through back yards, peeking under garbage can lids and decks and into bushes for any sign of Zamlen.

"If it was me or just anybody [missing], I think he'd be out here looking," Pagano said.

Pagano met Zamlen a week before school started last fall when both arrived on campus to train as Tommie ambassadors, students who host, give tours and welcome prospective students. They immediately clicked, Pagano said, and spent time together throughout the year.

"He's a nice guy," Pagano said. "He's the kind of person you can go to."

Zamlen, an Eveleth, Minn., native, had left a party because of an argument, and told his friends he was walking on St. Clair Avenue toward Mississippi River Boulevard S.

Zamlen, who has Type I diabetes, had been drinking, said friends and family members. Friends refused to reveal what upset him, but they said it was not an extraordinary disagreement.

The bloodhound from neighboring Hennepin County found a scent trail that led to the street corner where Zamlen was last known to be, said Pete Panos, St. Paul police spokesman. The trail ended there, he added.

A State Patrol helicopter searched farther up river to the University of Minnesota campus, where one friend said he might have been headed to meet friends from the Iron Range.

Authorities found no activity in his bank accounts or phone records after he was reported missing, Panos said.

Throughout the day, students and civilians disbursed in groups of about 50 to scour back yards and alleys within a 2-mile radius of campus. They were told that Zamlen is likely physically and mentally exhausted, if not in a coma, from low blood sugar and a lack of insulin. Searchers were told to listen for a beeping noise from his OmniPod, a device that injects insulin into his body that can beep up to a week to warn of a low or absent insulin supply.

Students also searched the College of St. Catherine campus because of its resemblance and proximity to St. Thomas.

Zamlen's father, Dale, said he is concerned that they could not search garages, where he thinks his son could have sought refuge. His mother, Sally, was awed by the volunteer response, and thanked them. The parents declined to comment further.

"It's really tough," said his 17-year-old sister, Andrea Zamlen. "Just keep praying, and if you can help, come."

Zamlen is 6 feet 1 and 175 pounds. He has blond hair, blue eyes and was wearing a dark blue, zip-up fleece, light blue T-shirt, blue jeans and brown Dr. Martens shoes. He was carrying a black iPhone and a blue hand-held insulin meter.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the university's Public Safety Department at 651-962-5555.

cxiong@startribune.com • 612-673-4391

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