AMES, Iowa -- The Office of the State Medical Examiner has positively identified a body found last night in an outlying building on the former ISU Dairy Farm as that of missing Iowa State University student Jonathan Lacina.
Lacina, 21, of 5119 Buchanan Hall, was last seen leaving a small gathering of friends at 300 Stanton Ave. the night of Jan. 22. He was a senior majoring in graphic design from Grinnell. Lacina's father, Tom, contacted ISU Police to report his son missing on Jan. 30.
Exhaustive air, water and ground searches for Lacina had occurred since that time. Search teams combed the area via fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter, on horseback and on foot. Canine teams also assisted in search efforts on several occasions. Most recently, personnel from city, county and university departments conducted daily checks of areas on and around the ISU campus.
At approximately 8:30 p.m. on April 14, an ISU Police officer examining remote areas of the former dairy farm south of campus (between Mortensen Road and Highway 30) discovered a man's body inside an isolated room of a brick structure. The building, located approximately one mile south of central campus, is no longer used for agricultural purposes.
ISU Police secured the scene and requested assistance from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the State Crime Laboratory, the Ames Police Department, Story County Sheriff's Office, the Story County Medical Examiner and the Office of the State Medical Examiner.
Statement from Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy
"We are greatly saddened to learn that the body discovered in the former dairy facility south of the campus is Jonathan Lacina, and our deepest sympathies go out to his parents, Tom and Alesia; his brother, Joe, and their extended family for their loss," Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy said in a statement. "We all held out hope that Jonathan would be found alive and well, but while that hope no longer exists, Jonathan's family and friends can now begin to bring closure to this terrible ordeal.
"I want to thank everyone-from Jonathan's family, friends and fellow students, to the law enforcement officials and many other faculty and staff-who remained so steadfast and who worked so diligently and tirelessly to find Jonathan and bring this tragic situation to a close."
Case remains under investigation
The manner and cause of death have yet to be determined. It could be a matter of days or weeks before examination and investigative results are obtained and analyzed, ISU Police Chief Jerry Stewart said.
"The investigation will rely heavily upon the results of the autopsy performed by the Office of the State Medical Examiner. This is standard procedure and required by law," Stewart said.
Numerous agencies, persons assisted
The search since the initial report has included personnel and resources from the following agencies: Ames Police Department, Ames Fire Department, STAR 1 Search and Rescue, the Story County Sheriff's Office, Hennepin County (Minn.) Sheriff's Office, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Story County Emergency Management, Mercy Hospital Medical Center, Des Moines; local public works personnel, the ISU departments of residence, dining, and facilities planning and management; and ISU Police, as well as other university staff and trained divers from Clear Lake and Carroll.
"We deeply appreciate the continued, diligent search efforts and resources offered by so many," said ISU Police Chief Jerry Stewart. "We are humbled by the outpouring of support in our community and beyond to help find Jon."