An 18-year-old Kenai Peninsula College student is still missing after he was last seen at a party a week ago, and his mother says she fears the worst.
“I don’t believe he’s made it through this, but we still have to find him,” said a sobbing Sherri Struthers, Jared Richardson Struthers’ mother.
A rumor has spread around KPC and local high schools that Jared was recently found in a snow berm somewhere, but Sherri said the rumor is untrue and that so far only the red coat he wore the night of the party has turned up.
Sherri said she and Richard Struthers, Jared’s dad, were not immediately aware that Jared was missing the weekend he disappeared because he had been living with another family in Soldotna at the time.
Jared was living with his parents in Sterling up until the holidays, after which he moved in with a couple of other KPC students and their family in Soldotna so that he could get to and from school easier.
When the Soldotna family did not see Jared for several days, however, they apparently thought Jared had returned to his parents’ Sterling home, and on Tuesday afternoon called the Struthers’ home to see if he was there.
But Jared had not been at the Struthers’ home and when Sherri received the Soldotna family’s phone call she immediately became alarmed. Jared’s family called Alaska State Troopers to let them know Jared was missing, retrieved an old cell phone bill of Jared’s, called all of the phone numbers on it and found no one who had seen Jared since he had been at a house party on Borealis Avenue in Kasilof about 3 or 4 a.m. Saturday, Sherri said.
Jared’s coat was found at the Borealis Avenue house, and Sherri said it was odd that Jared’s coat would be found somewhere without Jared somewhere nearby.
“I just knew something was wrong because he wouldn’t go out without his coat, anybody who knows my son I can’t get him out of his coat even in the house,” she said. “And that just rang a bell right there. Something’s not right, ‘cause he wouldn’t leave his coat, he just got it for his birthday in November.”
Sherri said that, according to the person who held the party, Jared left with a couple of male friends with whom Jared planned to hitchhike to his next destination. Others, however, have said they are pretty sure they saw Jared leave the party alone, she said.
No one has claimed to have left with Jared the night of the party, and Sherri said she talked to one partygoer who said there were only 15 people at the party, and another who said there may have been as many as 50.
Sherri said she and Richard still are anxiously searching for Jared and asked that anyone who was at the party or who knows anything about where Jared might be come forward with any information they have.
Jared is Caucasian, 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 135 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes and was last seen at the party wearing a red jacket and blue jeans.
Anyone with information should call the Alaska State Troopers at 262-4453.
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