The search for missing 20-year-old Jenni-Lyn Watson continued Friday as the number of searchers was expanded to three times its previous size. More than 130 police officers and rescue team members went over an area in Clay, New York, hoping to find some trace of the college student that went missing on November 19. According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Six search dogs also participated in the search efforts, which authorities are still conducting as if Watson were alive.
“We’re working under the assumption we’re going to find Jenni-Lyn and bring her home safely,” Onondaga County Undersheriff Warren Darby said at an evening press conference.
Darby said that the investigation had covered over 1,200 acres so far but had found nothing. He was certain investigators were doing a thorough job. Police have excluded civilian searchers in the investigation thus far, saying they wanted to maintain the integrity of the investigation. Future searches with civilians were not ruled out, however.
Police were searching the Clay area because of information gathered from “activity” from Watson’s cell phone records, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. Onondaga County authorities have refused to provide further details about the cell phone “activity.”
In fact, besides Jenni-Lyn Watson herself, her cell phone was the only thing that seemed to be missing from her belongings. When her parents and 17-year-old sister returned home on November 19, they found the older daughter gone but her wallet and purse still in the house. When she didn’t return to the Liverpool house or contact her family that evening, they called police to report her missing, insisting that leaving the house without letting her family know her whereabouts was very uncharacteristic of the 20-year-old.
Speculation regarding former boyfriends and possible involvement has surfaced. Fox News reported that an anonymous source noted that Watson had recently broke off an engagement with a young man. “The break-up didn’t go as cordially as it should have,” the source said.
Police have acknowledged that family and friends, including former boyfriends, have been and continue to be questioned. However, authorities insist that they have no persons of interest as yet.
“The case has developed,” Undersheriff Darby said at the press conference, but he left the statement open to interpretation, not elaborating.
Temperatures in the area, which have dropped below freezing the last several days, have been of particular concern to authorities as well. They have asked local residents to check sheds, detached buildings, and barns for any signs of disturbance.
While searches continue and various law enforcement officials canvass the area, friends and family members have been plastering “missing” posters displaying Watson’s image not only in Clay, New York, but also surrounding communities. A website was launched that continuously updates information about the investigation. A Facebook group page, “MISSING: Jenni-Lyn Watson,” was also created to help in the search and disseminate information. Nearly 26,000 people had become friends of the group by Friday evening.
Jenni-Lyn Watson is described as 5′ 4″ and weighs about 100 pounds. She has dirty blonde hair and brown eyes. She is known to carry a Verizon LG enV3 cell phone with a blue cover.
Police are also interested in the cell phone should it be discovered.
Authorities are asking that anyone having information about the whereabouts of Jenni-Lyn Watson or about the circumstances of her disappearance to call the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Detectives at (315) 435-3081.
Charles McChesney, “Police maintain hope for missing Clay woman,” Syracuse.com
Cristina Corbin, “Search for Missing New York College Student Focuses on Wooded Area,” FoxNews.com