The parents of Rutgers University student Yasir Williams have released an urgent call for help since the 21-year-old went missing on Monday.
Essex County police told NJ.com they have started an investigation into Williams' disappearance. Police said he was last seen by his parents when he left their East Orange, New Jersey, home around 11:30 p.m. Sunday evening.
Williams, who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds, attends the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University.
“He did not have his cell phone on him when he left the house and he was last seen wearing grey sweats, blue, red and grey Nike sneakers, and a yellow hoodie. His hoodie and wallet were subsequently found in the area of Wayne Avenue and Sanford Street,” police said in a statement.
If you have any information about his whereabouts you can contact the East Orange police at 973-266-5000 or 973-266-5041.
Police in New Jersey say about 16,000 people are reported missing each year and nearly all are found.
In February, New Jersey police officials said they were using a new tool called Find'em Scent Safe that helps K9 dogs find missing people.
By using dogs, police are able to track down missing people through their smell. The free kit helps police collect the scents of a missing person and assist dogs in discovering anything that might resemble the missing person's smell.
“It was originated by Dr. Coby Webb. She's from the Riverside County Sheriff's Office. She's a captain there and she pretty much coined bloodhounds in California. She saw the problem a lot of us are seeing now that when you come to these calls for these missing people, there's no scent articles available,” Detective Christopher Nichols told PIX11.
It was used more than 70 times in 2019 to find children or adults who may have gotten lost or were unable to find their way home.
“It helps us when it comes to time management, the longer we spend looking for a scent article, minutes count. The average person could walk four miles an hour. So if it takes us an hour, two hours to find a good scent article, you're now well ahead of us," Nichols said.
"In order to find missing people with a bloodhound, you need something they wore, touch or otherwise came into contact with to get that person scent off of. Without that, you're not able to trail the person that went missing," Nichols added.