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Students come together to search for missing Utah woman

  • Story Highlights
  • BYU student Camille Cleverley has been missing for more than a week
  • Family members made a public plea for help Friday
  • Volunteers are helping police search for the missing woman
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By Joshua Molina
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CNNU campus correspondent Joshua Molina is a senior at Brigham Young University. He joined the search for college student Camille Cleverly and wrote the following commentary on what he saw. CNNU is a feature that provides student perspectives on news and trends from colleges across the United States. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of CNN, its affiliates or the schools where the campus correspondents are based.

PROVO, Utah (CNN) -- Hundreds of volunteers gathered on Brigham Young University's campus Friday to help find a college student who vanished more than a week ago.


Camille Cleverley, a 22-year-old college student, was last seen more than a week ago.

The volunteers were grouped into parties of 10, then sent into a neighborhood covering a three-mile radius around Camille Cleverley's apartment.

So far, the only clue to what happened to the 22-year-old BYU student is her bicycle found miles up a mountain canyon.

The groups spent the day knocking on doors, asking residents if they were in the area when Cleverley was last seen.

They asked if anyone had seen anything suspicious, including people buying women's clothing.

On BYU's campus, posters seeking information about Cleverley are everywhere, and there are renewed calls for students to be safe.

I followed some of those students as they went door to door.

Before the organizers sent us out, they briefed us on what to do in case we found her, dead or alive. Since she's been missing for eight days, we had to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

They also told us to look out for a possible change of appearance, such as different clothes, or a new hairstyle or hair color, as happened in the Elizabeth Smart abduction case a few years ago.

A searcher I spoke to by Bridal Veil Falls, where police say Cleverley's bicycle was found, said that he was among those looking for Elizabeth, and they walked right past her on occasions and didn't realize who she was.

After being briefed by volunteer coordinators, I met the rest of our party at a rendezvous spot by a park in South Provo, and followed Todd and Rachel Freestone with my video camera. Todd is a recent BYU graduate, and Rachel is finishing up her social work degree.

"I came because I heard about the missing girl, and it just touched my heart," Rachel said. They heard about Friday's search after visiting their friend Dallas Bean's apartment last night.

Our team leader was Jeremy Smith, a BYU student from Sacramento, California.

"I got the e-mail last night, and I didn't have any classes today, so I figured I'd come," Smith said. He was chosen because of previous first aid experience.

Door to door, they followed protocol and asked residents about the missing student. Some neighbors weren't home, and others told all they knew.

The Freestones carefully took notes as they asked their questions at the doorstep. Some people shied away from the camera, so I tried to stay as far back as possible.

It seemed like the leads weren't going anywhere, so I headed to Bridal Veil Falls, where police and professional searchers were still on the trail. Volunteers were discouraged from searching up the canyon.

Police were friendly but had little to say. The falls were beautiful on this September afternoon, but there was no sign of Cleverley.

The area around the falls has a long bike trail, and searchers were specifically interested in that area since that is where the bicycle was found.

It was allegedly stolen by someone at that spot, then turned over to police, making this investigation even more bizarre. No one would comment on what is happening to the people that turned in the bike.

Searchers looked all over the falls area Friday morning, reaching the top of the falls, even though they seriously doubt that the missing woman could've gotten that far up without climbing gear or a climbing team. Still, police are trying every lead they can get.

I went as far as I could into the investigation scene, passing by police interrogating a man who seemed to have seen two men and a woman walking around the area.

I was then told to leave the premises, and I returned to wait for the Freestones to call me and give me any news they had, good or bad. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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