University business student missing since Halloween

by Monica LaBelle

Chris Jenkins, a Carlson School of Management student and captain of the University’s lacrosse team, has been missing since Thursday night, say friends and family members.

Jenkins, 21, was last seen Thursday night at the Lone Tree Bar & Grill in downtown Minneapolis. He was wearing an American Indian costume and was celebrating Halloween with several friends.

“We know who we came with, and we know he didn’t leave with any of them,” said Ashly Rice, Jenkins’ girlfriend who is employed at the Lone Tree but was not working there that night.

Rice, a College of Liberal Arts junior, said she had Jenkins’ wallet and cell phone with her that night because his costume, made of thin suede, did not have pockets.

“He had no coat, no money on him. I had his wallet and his cell phone,” Rice said.

Rice said Jenkins and the people they had gone out with were drinking and that “nothing is really concrete” when it comes to pinpointing who last saw Jenkins.

After their group of friends left the bar, Rice waited for Jenkins, but he never returned, so she too left the bar. She went to Jenkins’ house Friday.

“I got his roommate calling people, and we realized that nobody had seen him (Friday) at all,” Rice said.

Jenkins’ roommates notified his parents, Jan and Steve Jenkins, who drove from their home in Burlington, Wis., to Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon with Jenkins’ sister, Sarah.

His parents hired a private investigator and organized a search team of approximately 100 friends and family members who have since combed downtown Minneapolis, the Mississippi River banks and the University campus. They traced the route Jenkins could have taken from the Lone Tree to his home on Fourth Street and posted signs with his picture throughout downtown and around campus.

As of press time, there had been few leads on Jenkins’ whereabouts and a formal missing persons report had not been filed because Jenkins had been missing for less than 72 hours – the time needed for a missing-persons report to be filed.

Jenkins’ family and friends say he is an extrovert and a “people person” who wouldn’t leave without telling someone.

“Chris would never in a million years make the choice to hide out somewhere or to go somewhere with a friend to another state and just forget to tell. He was at the bar with his girlfriend Ashly whom he absolutely adores, and every one of his friends are saying the same thing, ‘He loves her to death,’ ” Jan Jenkins said.

Rice said there was nothing unusual in Jenkins’ life that would make him leave.

“He would get stressed out with school, but he’s a smart guy, and he’s pretty excited about graduating,” Rice said, adding that Jenkins is set to graduate from the Carlson School of Management this spring.

“My experience is that everybody does things out of character every once in awhile,” said Minneapolis Police Department patrol officer John Hokanson, who responded to a Jenkins’ family phone call Sunday. “I have a little faith in the bizarreness of your average young male.”

Hokanson said police would begin an investigation Monday if Jenkins was still missing.

Said Deb Stelfox, Jenkins’ aunt: “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare for a child to be gone without a trace.”

Monica LaBelle welcomes comments at [email protected]