Police: Man missing since May might have jumped off bridge

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cape Girardeau police continue to investigate the disappearance of a Southeast Missouri State University student missing since mid-May.

Thirty-year-old Lance A. Daugherty was last seen by his parents around 7 p.m. May 15 when he stopped by their Cape Girardeau residence to pick up his walking shoes, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol missing person report.

Daugherty had been staying with a friend, Marybeth Rhodes, who said she went to work that day and came home to find her living room window open.

There was no sign of Daugherty, she said.

Rhodes said at first she didn't think anything of it because Daugherty frequently took long walks around town where he visited the city parks, but when Daugherty wasn't back by 3 a.m. she grew concerned and reported him missing.

Though the investigation is ongoing, there is evidence to indicate Daugherty may have jumped from the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge, said Cape Gir­ar­deau police chief Carl Kinnison.

There have been no reports of anyone jumping from the 100-foot wide, 4,000-foot long cable-stay bridge, which opened Dec. 13, 2003.

The Kentucky State Police Water Patrol Lakes Division spent a day searching both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the Mississippi River but did not find anything.

On May 15, the river was 33.5 feet high, with a strong, fast current and was choked with debris because of flooding, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Web site. The river has dropped substantially since then.

During the course of the investigation, a subpoena was issued for Daugherty's phone records.

Police discovered the phone was in use by someone who said they'd discovered it on the bridge railing, along with Daugherty's wallet and glasses, according to Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle.

Rhodes described her friend as a brilliant musician and "just a good guy." Daugherty had been studying radiology at Southeast and was an avid guitarist, said Rhodes.

"None of us really expected anything was amiss until he disappeared," she said.

Daugherty was described as a 5 feet, 7 inches, 140-pound white male with blond hair and blue eyes. He was wearing gray tennis shoes, gray sweatpants and a white T-shirt when he disappeared, according to the missing person report.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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