Community prays for student’s safe return as search continues
Published 12:01 am Tuesday, December 2, 2014
NATCHEZ — The search for a Natchez teenager who left for school Monday morning but never got there continued throughout the night as classmates and friends prayed for his safe return.
Silas Whitaker, 17, was last seen at approximately 7:30 a.m. Monday leaving his home on Martin Luther King Jr. Road for classes at Cathedral School.
The school notified Whitaker’s parents he had not arrived at approximately 11:30 a.m.
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Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said Monday night that ACSO officials hadn’t come across any significant leads to Whitaker’s whereabouts.
The Cathedral senior left his cell phone and other personal items at his house before leaving.
“We’ve got him officially listed as a missing person, so anybody that runs his tag, ID or anything, it will come back as a missing person and alert us,” Mayfield said. “We don’t have a whole lot to go on at this point, so I’m hoping sooner rather than later someone will run his tag.”
Mayfield said ACSO officials went through Whitaker’s computer and interviewed family and close friends, but didn’t immediately suspect any foul play in his disappearance.
“We’ve also been combing the roads and backroads looking for his vehicle, but we haven’t found anything there,” Mayfield said. “Right now, we have to get the word out there as much as possible and hope someone runs that tag.”
Whitaker was driving a maroon, four-door 2010 Mazda 3 with the Mississippi license plate ADK 921. Whitaker is described as being 6-feet-tall, weighing 190 pounds and having short, blond hair and blue eyes.
As law enforcement officials continued searching for Whitaker Monday evening, members of Cathedral School gathered at Devereux stadium to host a prayer vigil.
Nearly 150 students, teachers and parents held hands and prayed for Whitaker’s safe return.
“We need to know he is OK, Lord,” Cathedral senior Chandler Russ said. “We know he is always safe in Your arms. Bring him home safely.”
Before the group recited the Lord’s Prayer in unison, Russ asked for God to bring Whitaker home safely to those who missed him and cared about him.
“Deliver Silas (Whitaker) here now, where he is greatly missed,” Russ said. “Guide him to come home where many miss him.”
Cathedral Chief Administrator and high school principal Pat Sanguinetti described Whitaker as a “sharp kid” who steered clear of trouble.
“Everyone is still trying to make sense out of this thing and hoping that there’s nothing to it,” Sanguinetti said. “We have to keep calm and get the word out there to everyone who might be able to help.”
After discovering Whitaker wasn’t in class, Sanguinetti said he asked one of Whitaker’s classmates to send a text message asking why he wasn’t at school.
“We later found out (Whitaker) left his phone at the house, but all the students say that’s normal for him,” Sanguinetti said. “They said even if he had it on him, it probably wouldn’t be charged because he never charges his phone.”
Sanguinetti said he continued hoping that Whitaker would soon return home to his parents, classmates and friends.
Anybody with information about Whitaker’s whereabouts is asked to contact the ACSO at 601-442-2752.