CINCINNATI – After spending the night of Saturday, May 17, at The St. Clair and Mac’s Pizza, University of Cincinnati student Brogan Dulle went back to his apartment on E. McMillan in Clifton Heights.
At about 3 a.m., the 21-year-old told his friends he left his cellphone behind and would retrace his steps to find it – leaving his wallet, money, identification and house keys in his apartment.
He never returned.
Since then, the search for Brogan has captivated the nation, earning a Thursday night segment on Nancy Grace’s HLN show and a viral story on the Huffington Post. The story has been “liked” more than 1 million times.
Even ABC News has covered it, with anchor David Muir referring to the situation as a “desperate search for a Cincinnati college student who disappeared without a trace.”
Search parties are being run around the clock in Cincinnati neighborhoods, particularly Clifton, Clifton Heights, Over-the-Rhine and downtown.
The biggest lead police have: Surveillance video released by police Thursday.
The footage shows Brogan walking along the 100 block of E. McMillan Street and using a flashlight around 3 a.m. Sunday, not far from his apartment.
The last visible video captured Brogan returning to the vicinity of his apartment at 3:10 a.m., still using his flashlight. The camera eventually loses sight of him when he steps out of range.
There has been no video or confirmed personal sighting since.
"When he got back home – presuming that he did – from looking for his phone, he was locked out,” said Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. James Whalen. “We don't know that he made it back there. We don't have anyone who saw him there. There's no video evidence of that because he's outside of the camera range that we have."
Police say they also have no idea where Brogan’s phone is, and it stopped sending out pings, or signals, around 5 a.m. Sunday.
Whalen said this indicates the phone is either shut off or out of battery.
Another clue: Police don’t think Brogan had any money on him when he disappeared.
"His credit and debit – his access to additional funding – has not been touched, tapped or used,” Whalen said. “So there's no additional resources coming to him that way.”
Brogan, an education major and graduate of Turpin High School, is described as a passionate, responsible young man who loves working with kids. He is a swim coach at both Mercy HealthPlex Sea Wolves and Turpin Hills swim clubs.
“He is responsible and he is dedicated, he would not miss work,” his mother, Beth Dulle, said at a news conference Friday at Cincinnati Police District 4 headquarters. “Like a mailman – rain, sleet or snow – he would be there.”
Beth was joined Friday by her husband Tom Dulle, as well as relatives Tina and Libby McVeigh.
Each family member said they had no indication anything was wrong with Brogan.
“We saw no changes in Brogan’s behavior that would lead us to believe something was bothering him,” Beth said.
She said she saw her son Friday after his swim team practice. He helped sand down a table they were building for his brother’s graduation party.
Then, on Saturday, she remembered him being “his normal, happy self."
Cincinnati police officials reasserted Friday afternoon that while they've received numerous tips about possible sightings of Brogan, there have been no "credible leads" in the case.
But Brogan's friends and family are not giving up.
The Facebook group to support finding Brogan reached more than 7,000 members in a little over 24 hours and nearly 21,000 by Saturday afternoon. The page was set up by two of Brogan's aunts who flew to Cincinnati from out of town to assist with the search.
A Dulle family spokesperson, Laura Lewis, confirmed Sunday the FBI is aiding Cincinnati police in its investigation.
A central help location is at the Gilpin’s restaurant on W. Clifton Avenue, just a block from UC's campus.
Upwards of 2,000 volunteers were expected to take part in search efforts over the course of Memorial Day weekend, spending time combing the area for clues and handing out fliers at places like the Taste of Cincinnati.
Brogan was last seen wearing a dark blue shirt, khaki pants, a black jacket and black and white Nike shoes. He is 6-foot-1 and 145 pounds. He has blond hair, blue eyes and wears black Ray-Ban glasses.
Authorities ask anyone with information about Brogan’s whereabouts to call 513-765-1212.
WCPO's Jason Law and Amy Wadas contributed to this report.
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