Search continues for UW student

Hank Long

University sophomore Stephanie Jones is searching for her friend who has been missing since early Saturday morning.

“I’ve known her since I was 4 years old,” Jones said about University of Wisconsin-Madison sophomore Audrey Ruth Seiler, who was last seen leaving her apartment Saturday at 2:30 a.m.

“We went to preschool through our senior year, and I’ve been friends with her through school and various sports,” Jones said.

Jones is one of many friends, family members and police who are in Madison, Wis., searching for Seiler, 20, of Rockford, Minn. Police have released few details about the search or circumstances surrounding the woman’s disappearance.

Jones said she heard about Seiler’s disappearance late Saturday night from members of a Rockford community church, and drove to Madison on Sunday to meet up with Seiler’s parents and other friends to search for her.

Jones said Seiler, a communicative disorders and speech pathology student, is very outgoing, open to everyone and athletic.

“Anyone would go to her with problems,” she said.

Seiler was last seen wearing an oversized burgundy Abercrombie & Fitch hooded sweatshirt with large white numbers on the front, navy-blue sweatpants and either white flip-flops or tennis shoes, according to www.findaudrey.wisc.edu. She is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds and has dark brown hair and blue eyes.

WCCO-AM reported that police said Seiler was assaulted last month. She allegedly was approached from behind, struck unconscious and left in a secluded area. Police have no suspect description.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Provost Peter Spear said in a statement Monday that the university was doing everything possible to assist the Seiler family and aid in the investigation by campus and Madison police.

“We are also calling the university community to come together to provide police with any other information that might be helpful in their investigation,” Spear said.

He said the university has developed a Web site containing a photo of Seiler and other information that can be used to locate her.

“We hope Audrey returns quickly and safely,” Spear said.

John Lucas, university spokesman, said the university has sent a campus-wide e-mail to students and administration about Seiler’s disappearance.

Jones said Seiler’s father told University of Wisconsin newspapers that Seiler was a nondrinker and did not party.

“(Audrey) is very focused on her academics,” Jones said.

University of Minnesota Assistant Vice President for Public Safety Greg Hestness said he spoke with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and said there were no leads in Minnesota as of Monday afternoon.

Hestness said the University has different policies regarding how to inform the University community if a student is missing or a victim of a violent crime.

“You have to use a certain amount of judgment as to what is helpful for people to protect themselves,” he said.

– The Associated Press contributed to this story