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'We just want him back safely:' Parents of missing UWM student share their fear

Posted at 8:37 PM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 23:40:18-05

MILWAUKEE — The search continues for a college student who went missing more than three days ago. On Sunday a statewide alert was issued for 18-year-old Sean Baek, a freshman at UW-Milwaukee, who could be endangered.

UW-Milwaukee police said Sean was last seen 1:25 a.m. Friday leaving Cambridge Commons, an off-campus dorm near North and Cambridge Avenues.

They said they learned Sean and another student were taking LSD before he went missing, and that the other student had a bad reaction. Chief Joseph LeMire said police were called to respond and that it’s possible Sean was aware they were coming.

LeMire said around the same time Sean left the dorm, a witness saw someone run towards the riverbank near his residence hall.

According to police, Sean sent his dad a text message minutes before leaving the dorm saying, “I love you guys, I am so sorry.” It’s unclear what he meant, but his parents said they believe Sean was scared he would get in trouble by his school.

Sean’s parents, Kristin and Michael told TODAY’S TMJ4 they are worried sick about their son.

"Anytime you have a child, it’s like your heart is out there walking around without you,” Kristin said.

"This just isn’t like Sean. He’s a responsible kid and neither us, nor any of his friends can believe this is happening,” Michael said. "This is just uncharacteristic and you know leads us to believe he’s in trouble."

They are still trying to find out what exactly happened, but what makes them all the more concerned is that Sean is a Type 1 diabetic.

"At most he probably has four days of insulin you know left in his pump,” Kristin said.

"You need to refill the pump every few days otherwise things can go bad fast,” Michael said.

Sean’s parents are doing what they can to spread the word about his disappearance.

"Trying to continue to reach out and keep people aware to be on the lookout for him,” Michael said.

They’re just hoping and praying he returns soon.

"We just want him back, safely,” Kristin said.

School officials also said posts on social media have suggested Sean was abducted and taken to Chicago. They want to make it clear, they have not received any information causing them to believe this is the case.

LeMire said they’re working with the Milwaukee Police Department and Fire Department on the investigation. They are searching near the river but haven’t gone in yet. LeMire said they wouldn’t deploy a dive team until they’re able to narrow down a particular area to search.

Police are also reviewing surveillance video from the neighborhood near the residence hall, as well as information from Sean’s cell phone. They determined Sean’s phone last pinged with a cell phone tower less than five minutes after leaving the dorm.

Sean was last seen wearing a Bucks cap, a maroon, white and dark-colored shirt, and white shoes. If you have any information, you can call UWM police at (414) 229-4627 or Milwaukee police at (414) 935-7211.

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