Student Missing, Few Leads Appear

Extension School student gone for weeks, police do not suspect foul play

Police are investigating the disappearance of a Somerville resident who has reportedly been missing for nearly two weeks in a case where detectives have ruled out foul play.

Jane Park, 23, who won a Fulbright scholarship after graduating from Wellesley College in 2004 and took classes at the Extension School this past fall, was last seen in Harvard Square on May 5, according to a missing-adult alert released by the Somerville Police Department.

Park was first reported missing after her roommate had not seen or heard from Park in five days, said Christine Y. Teng ’04, a staff member for the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship who has been helping Park’s family throughout the search.

Park’s mother and sister have flown in to help with the investigation, Teng said.

Somerville police do not suspect any foul play in Park’s disappearance, according to Lieutenant Paul Upton.

“We have no reason to suspect violence at this time,” Upton said. “Our detectives are trying to track down where she may be. We will continue to look into where she is as long as there are leads to follow.”

But, Upton added, “We can certainly never rule anything out.”

Park—who is described as an Asian woman, 5’3” tall and weighing 110 pounds—graduated from Wellesley with a degree in philosophy, Teng said. Park had lived in Somerville since August 2005, when she began taking classes at the Extension School with plans to apply to graduate school to study architecture.

Detectives said they have not come across many leads in the search.

“We’re still continuing to do some ground work to see if there’s been any activity,” Upton said. “But there are only so many things you can achieve doing neighborhood canvassing and initiating things on your own. At a certain point, you have to rely on the public helping you out.”

The department has been trying to get the word out through various means, he said. “We’re trying to get some media attention.”

Harvard University Police Department spokesman Steven G. Catalano wrote in an e-mail that the investigation is being handled by the Somerville force.

The Harvard department’s involvement “is limited to Somerville PD providing us with a copy of the missing person flyer and asking us to keep an eye out for her,” he wrote.

Teng, who never knew Park but was contacted for assistance by the family, said that she has been impressed with the amount of help she’s received in getting the word of Park’s disappearance out.

“This morning, we went out to do some flyering in the Harvard Square area,” she said. “It was really cool because I sent an e-mail to see if people would help, and word just got around. People I knew who were students and people I didn’t know came with staples and masking tape to help.”

Teng has been trying to spread the word by sending e-mails across Harvard student group and house lists.

“I’m really grateful for the way that people have gotten the word out,” she said.

—Staff writer Reed B. Rayman can be reached at rrayman@fas.harvard.edu.