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January 30, 2007

Purdue police assist Texas authorities in missing person case

Eric M. Campbell
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Purdue University police are assisting Texas authorities in their search for a 33-year-old man who has been missing since around Jan. 15 and was last seen in El Paso.A missing person's report has been filed in El Paso for Eric M. Campbell of Avilla, Ind., who had just enrolled as a doctoral student at Purdue. Four days after classes started on Jan. 8, he went to El Paso en route to a wedding in Juarez, Mexico. When Campbell did not return to campus, Purdue police contacted El Paso authorities, said Purdue spokesperson Jeanne Norberg.

According to police reports, a Purdue officer then spoke to a female friend of Campbell's who lives in Mexico. She told the officer that after Campbell arrived in El Paso on Jan. 12, a friend drove him to Mexico, and he arrived at her home at about 8 p.m. that evening. Campbell then returned to the United States on Jan. 15.

Investigators confirmed that on Jan. 15 Campbell was scheduled to fly from El Paso to Indianapolis. The airline contacted Campbell's mother to inform her that her son's luggage had arrived at the Indianapolis International Airport, however, there is no evidence that he ever boarded the plane, Norberg said.

Campbell's mother told police that she has not heard from him, Norberg said.

"Friends and colleagues are puzzled and are hoping to hear from him," Norberg said.

While this case occurred around the same time as missing Purdue student Wade Steffey was last seen, there is no relationship, Norberg said.

"The timelines are different. Wade was last seen shortly after midnight Jan. 13," Norberg said. "Campbell was in El Paso on Jan. 12 and then arrived in Mexico at 8 p.m. that day."

Campbell was enrolled in the industrial technology education program at Purdue. He had earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology and a master's degree from Purdue in 1997 and 2000, respectively. He had been employed as an engineer in Mexico prior to re-enrolling at Purdue.

Writer: Brian Zink, (765) 494-2080,

Source: John Cox, (765) 494-8221

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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