CNN

The family of missing Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie has been “kept in the dark” by authorities, according to her brother, who says they’re desperate for information and working to put together a timeline of her whereabouts.

Ewunetie, 20, went missing six days ago, prompting university officials to intensify their search for the junior.

Her family is particularly alarmed she missed a meeting regarding her citizenship on Saturday, said her oldest brother, Universe Ewunetie.

“There’s no constant update or interaction with us,” he told CNN by phone on Thursday, referring to campus authorities and the prosecutor’s office. “We’re really kept in the dark.”

Universe Ewunetie said authorities told him the investigation will take time. “That’s one thing we don’t have, we don’t have time,” he said.

CNN has sought comment from the prosecutor’s office and the university’s department of public safety about Universe Ewunetie’s claims.

Investigators are searching Lake Carnegie, on Princeton’s campus, and the surrounding area after authorities used bloodhounds to trace Ewunetie’s scent from the dorm to the lake, according to a law enforcement source.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted that he has been in touch with various law enforcement agencies regarding the missing student and is “praying for her swift and safe return.”

“I’ve been in touch with @NewJerseyOAG, @MercerCoPros, and the @NJSP who are doing everything they can to find missing @Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie,” the Governor tweeted.

“We’re praying for her swift and safe return,” he wrote.

Universe Ewunetie described his sister as a “precious, beautiful soul” who is a “great listener” and “cares about people beyond her.”

The family was “not particularly happy” Ewunetie went to Princeton because it is far from the family home in Ohio, but they “didn’t want to discourage her,” said the brother, who, with other relatives, was putting up fliers about his missing sister on the New Jersey campus.

“It’s very painful. (A) nightmare I cannot wake up from,” he added, fighting back tears. “I wish she’s somewhere out there.”

Universe Ewunetie said their father first tried contacting his sister Friday but didn’t connect and assumed she was busy.

By Saturday, calls and texts were going through, but still, no response – and, by Sunday, the calls were going straight to voicemail.

Family members said they spoke to her roommates, who remembered her sleeping in her dorm room on Friday morning.

Ewunetie was last seen around 3 a.m. near a residential building on the New Jersey campus, according to the university.

The university reported her missing on Monday and is urging anyone with information to contact the Department of Public Safety.

“As part of the continuing efforts to locate missing undergraduate student Misrach Ewunetie ’24, there is an increased law enforcement presence on and around campus today including the use of a helicopter, drones and watercraft,” the university said in an update to the community Wednesday morning.

Officials said Ewunetie has black hair, brown eyes and a light brown complexion. She is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds.

Ewunetie was volunteering at one of the school’s 11 eating clubs on Thursday night, the president of the club told the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian. Terrace Club President Alexander Maravcsik told the paper Ewunetie was on “duty” doing housekeeping work during a live music performance at the club.

“On Thursday night, one of our members who was initially signed up for duty was unable to attend our event, and Misrach volunteered to cover their shift. After the club had closed and all of the duty responsibilities had been fulfilled, Misrach – as well as the other members on duty – left for the night,” Maravcsik wrote to the paper.

Sara Elagad, executive director of the non-profit Minds Matter Cleveland, told CNN that Ewunetie’s disappearance was unusual. Ewunetie was a 2020 graduate of the Minds Matter Cleveland program, which looks to close the education gap of high-achieving low-income students.

“It is not at all in character for her to purposely go off the radar or be out of touch with family,” Elagad said. “We are supporting her family as they assist law enforcement efforts to safely locate her.”

Ewunetie was a 2020 honors graduate of the Villa St. Angela-St. Joseph High School, according to a statement from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. “We are praying for her swift and safe return,” a statement from Deacon James Armstrong read.

In an email to students, W. Rochelle Calhoun, Princeton’s vice president for campus life, said Ewunetie’s family contacted the school Sunday night to request a well-being check after not hearing from her for several days.

“Since Sunday, DPS has been actively working with the Prosecutor’s Office and with state and local police departments to follow all leads in the search for Misrach,” Calhoun said in the email. “I am confident that all is being done to find Misrach.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Misrach Ewunetie’s first name.

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