Rice University student missing since March 3rd.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Police in Panama City Beach are now saying that missing Rice University student Reny Jose likely drowned, and may have been under the influence of LSD.
The report comes from Alabama local news source AL.com, which says that Panama City Beach has been marred by an unusually high number of fatal and near-fatal accidents during this year’s spring break activities in the Florida beach town.
Jose was staying with some friends in a beachfront house they rented for their spring break vacation, but went missing on the night of March 3. Police found several of Jose’s clothes and personal effects in a trash can near the house soon after his disappearance was reported, and an extensive search has been orchestrated by local authorities over the last 10 days.
The report that Jose may have been high on LSD – a synthetic, hallucinogenic drug that causes severe mental trips lasting last 8-12 hours – jives with what his friends said in the days immediately following his disappearance. There was also speculation that Jose may have gone into the ocean at that time, too, but reports indicated that most beach-goers were staying away from the water because, at this time of the year, it is still quite cold.
What’s new is that police seem to have concluded that Jose has, in fact, drowned. In their statements to police early on in the investigation, Jose’s friends said that he made strange remarks about wanting to inflict harm upon himself, but other friends and family members have negated this, saying that Jose was a smart and lively young man who was about to graduate with a 4.0 GPA, and was looking forward to finding a job.
The temperature of the water may have contributed to Jose’s death if, in fact, he really did drown. The fact that Jose got rid of his clothes and cell phone before missing also gels with the idea that he went into the water on the night of March 3. LSD, which is short for Lysergic acid diethylamide, is an illegal Schedule I controlled substance in the US; psychedelic drug usage is common during events such as spring break.
Dive teams are currently searching the waters in the Gulf of Mexico, where Jose would have been swimming on the night he went missing. Meanwhile, his family is holding out hope that Jose is alive somewhere. The Facebook page created to spread awareness of his disappearance continues to gain followers, and donation money continues to come in to help fund the search efforts.
“I just wanted to thank everyone for their support. Your kind words, thoughts and prayers have kept us hopeful,” Reashma Jose, Reny’s sister, posted on the Facebook page. “Waiting to hear the news of Reny’s whereabouts each day has been agonizing. We ask that you please continue to keep us in your prayers. Reny is very much a pillar in our family and just as he would never give up on us, we refuse to give up on him. Thank you all again for everything.”
Those with any information about Jose’s potential whereabouts are encouraged to call the Bay County Sheriff’s Office at 747-4700 or Crime Stoppers at 785-TIPS.
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