Cornell University Police continued their search yesterday for missing student Dan Pirfo ’08, 19, who disappeared Sunday from Cornell, as friends across campus anxiously awaited news of his fate.
At 8 a.m. yesterday morning, a search party of about 30 student volunteers departed Ho Plaza to check three wooded areas not well canvassed by recent ground and aerial searches that came up empty. “Dan’s disappearance is being covered by C.U. Police, Ithaca Police, Ithaca Fire Department, and the State Forestry department, as well as the Fire Department Volunteers,” said Simeon Moss ’73, Cornell press office director. “There’s been very good cooperation among agencies, and together they’re following up on all leads.”
Pirfo was reported missing at 1 a.m. Monday morning by roommate Sean Clemens ’08 and other friends from his floor in Mews Hall.
Clemens said he last saw Pirfo at around 3:10 a.m. Sunday morning: “I told him I was going to bed and he said he’d be back.”
The last confirmed sighting of Pirfo was in another friend’s room in Mews at about 4:45 a.m.; he was possibly seen at around 9 a.m. in a Mews lounge by a passing resident.
Pirfo, who is about 5’8″ and 165 pounds, was last seen wearing a black shirt and khaki pants. He has brown hair and brown eyes. Students with any information are asked to call Cornell University Police at 607-255-1111 or 911.
Clemens said he hadn’t noticed anything unusual about his roommate’s behavior in the days leading up to his disappearance.
“Even after we reported him missing, I think we all just expected him to show up the next day with some new adventure,” said resident advisor Dan Zarrow ’06. “When that didn’t happen, we became really worried. Everyone in the hall is very anxious, and they’re getting more anxious with each passing day.”
According to Zarrow and Todd Carlson, Mews residence hall director, nightly meetings have been held since Dan was reported missing with police updates and Counseling and Psychological Services representatives on hand. The meetings were moved into a larger room after over 60 students attended the first, according to Zarrow.
Since Sunday, a group of Dan’s friends and other students from Mews have created a website, FindDanPirfo.com, which has racked up 24,000 hits, and have posted over a thousand flyers around campus and in Collegetown. “I think it helped students deal with this by being able to do something to help find Dan,” Zarrow said.
“I’ve been really touched by the outreach and concern the Mews community has shown for Dan,” Carlson said. “I’ve also been really impressed by the resources and services the University has provided for this case. And, of course, C.U. Police has been putting everything they can into finding Dan. The amount of attention from all around has been tremendous.”
Pirfo, better known by Clemens and his other floormates by his nickname, “D-Unit,” was “a popular guy on the floor,” according to Zarrow. “A real character.”
“He’s different from me, but we connected early on,” Clemens explained. “Us and a few others on the floor. We’re a pretty tight-knit group — we had been getting even closer in the past month, I’d say — everyone really brought something else to the table. Dan always tried to make sure everyone was having fun. He was taking a lot of hard classes and worked hard, but he tried to enjoy himself, to keep his eye on a larger picture. He was a funny guy … is a funny guy.”
“We’re asking everybody to keep Dan and his family in their thoughts and to please contact Cornell University police if they have any information that might help find him,” Carlson said.
“This really caught us all off-guard, and people are handling it in different ways,” Clemens said. “But we’re still optimistic that we’re going to be able to talk to him really soon.”
Archived article by Ben Birnbaum
Sun Staff Writer