Police Continue Search For UNF Student Missing Since Campus Party Sunday

Feb 14, 2017

George Louissaint Jr. was last seen on the UNF campus near The Flats apartment complex around 3 a.m. Sunday.
Credit George Louissaint via Facebook

The search for a missing University of North Florida student intensified Tuesday as police expanded their efforts to find 20-year-old George Louissaint Jr., with between 100 and 150 officers, recruits and corrections recruits from training academies involved in the search.

"We're no closer today than the day he went missing," said UNF police Chief Frank Mackesy. "It's frustrating. I've had many opportunities to meet the family. They're distraught."

Louissaint was last seen leaving a party that had been broken up by police about 3 a.m. Sunday.

Police are searching for ways Louissaint might have left campus but have found no good leads.

"He basically disappeared into the wind," said Jacksonville Sherrif's Office director Michelle Cook.

Louissant's family has been on the UNF campus during the search. 

"I'm here trying to get to the bottom of it," George Louissaint, Sr. said. "I will not go home until we find out whether he's alive or, you know, if it's the worst, then we'll take it, because life is given, life is taken by the one there.”

Louissaint was last seen early Sunday morning at a party at the UNF Flats apartments where police were called due to the amount of liquor involved. He was seen running toward a wooded area and hasn't been seen since.

"After the party was broken up, there was an argument between groups of people. Right now, our information is that our missing student wasn't involved in that altercation," Mackesy said Tuesday. "We have friends of his telling us that after that altercation, he ran into the woods."

Mackesy said campus police, with help from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, have searched woods with officers, K-9 teams and bloodhounds without finding a trace of Louissaint, and the JSO dive team, using side-scan radar, searched six retention ponds on campus.

On Monday, the dogs were back on campus, along with JSO's helicopter, searching from the air.

"It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack," Mackesy said. "There (are) just so many ways that he could’ve gone, and we have no idea which direction that was."

Mackesy said Louissaint's car is with his roommate, and his phone appears to be off, and there have not been any financial transactions. 

"Some of the things that are being done are consistent with him not wanting to be found," Mackesy said.

Louissant’s family drove from Fort Lauderdale, and his girlfriend, who's a college student living in Mobile, Alabama, came to Jacksonville on Monday to help with the search. They were on campus passing out fliers.

"Whatever I can do to find him, whatever I can do to help his parents and help his whole family," said Latesha Fleming, his girlfriend. "I just want him to know that we're all here for him. He shouldn't be nervous to come to us. He just needs to come."

His family said Louissant's sister spoke to him early Sunday morning, and there was no indication anything was wrong. This is the longest he has ever been gone without talking to anyone in his family.

"He would have called someone," Ana Louissaint, George Louissant's mother, said. "He would've called someone to pick him up. He has nobody here except for his roommate that I know."

"He is only four days away from his 21st birthday," George Louissaint Sr. said. He then added a message directed to his son: 

"George, we love you. We miss you. Your mother has been crying since Sunday morning. You last spoke to Jennifer around 2 in the morning and your phone was going dead and you were going to try to get home. And that never materialized, 'cause you didn’t make it home and we have been searching for you."

His family doesn’t think he ran away.

His family said his apartment is less than a mile away from where the party was held, and it's just how he left it—with money sitting on the dresser. 

"He is always with his friends. He wouldn’t go places by himself because we taught him always be with a crowd of people that you can trust," his father said.

Neither Fleming nor his roommate have heard from him. Fleming said she was on the phone with him the night before Louissaint disappeared, but the call dropped.

"His friend was like, 'We can't find him anymore.' So they started calling me and I started trying to find him. You know, I can't do much from Mobile, so I was just trying to do anything I could," Fleming said. "It's been really scary and stressful because I don't know where he could be. I haven't heard from him. I haven't talked to him. He doesn't have my phone number because I got a new number recently and it's just a lot. It's just been a lot of nerves going all over the place."

Fleming added that it's unlike her boyfriend to be distant, especially for this long.

Louissaint was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and khaki pants. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call university police at 904-620-2800, or the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500.