Undergraduate Daniel J. Barclay '07 has been missing since Sunday, April 8. Barclay, 5'11", has brown hair and blue eyes, and may be wearing a dark fleece jacket, according to an MIT News Office press release. Barclay, 22, who is a former Opinion staff columnist for The Tech, was last seen in his Ashdown House residence.
According to the MIT Police, Barclay was declared a missing person on Friday, April 13 and is listed in both state and national missing persons databases. Anyone with information regarding Barclay's disappearance is urged to call the MIT Police at 617-253-1212.
The last sign of Barclay was his AOL Instant Messenger away message that was set late Sunday evening, Barclay's mother Susan Kayton '78 said. According to Kayton, the message read, "I have to meet with some sketchy people I thought I'd never have to deal with ever again in east Cambridge."
Senior Associate Dean for Students Barbara A. Baker said that the investigation is "focused through our campus police." "We're hopeful that he will be found and will be found in good health" and "every lead is being pursued," she said.
"It's possible that he was bushwhacked in east Cambridge," said Kayton, "Or maybe he was looking to get away." Barclay may have gone on one of the long walks he sometimes takes, she said.
Detective Willard J. Boulter III, who is in charge of the investigation, said MIT is "working with local, state, and federal agencies."
Lieutenant Albert F. Pierce, Jr. said that MIT is actively investigating the case and that "all the colleges in the Boston area have received his photo."
Pierce raised the possibility that Barclay just needed to get away, in which case he should contact someone. "[Contacting someone] could put a lot of people at ease," Pierce said.
"If he doesn't want to be found … please contact somebody," said Boulter. "Send some sort of sign," he asked of Barclay.
Boulter also said that the Barclay family was involved in the search, hiring a private investigator and calling on the Guardian Angels, a volunteer organization that patrols violent neighborhoods, to post flyers and search for Barclay. The Guardian Angels did not immediately return a voice message.
Kayton, whose husband is a lawyer, said she has "subpoenaed … phone records," and "postered all of his favorite places."
Kayton, who lives in California, said she flew out on the first flight after she learned her son was missing. The MIT Police said that Barclay's father was flying in yesterday.
Timeline of events
On Saturday, April 7, Barclay drove to a debate tournament with the MIT Debate Team and later held a party in his room with approximately four people, Kayton said.
Boulter said the police had been in contact with "all the local hospitals and colleges where he debated," but were unable to confirm the number of people at the party.
Barclay then placed two calls on the evening of Sunday, April 8: one at 8:15 p.m. to his grandmother and one at 10:34 p.m. to a number in San Francisco, Kayton said. Later that evening, Barclay posted his AOL away message, according to Kayton.
"What's so heartbreaking about this whole thing is that [he told his grandmother] that 'tomorrow night I have this toy design class presentation … and it's my favorite class at MIT.' … He didn't show up," said Kayton.
According to Kayton, Barclay's friends thought he missed class because he was busy working on his thesis; Barclay's friends contacted Kayton on Thursday, April 12, when they became concerned.
Kayton said that obtaining records about her son was extremely difficult, "Because of all these privacy laws … we have to get court orders," Kayton said. "The law has gone too far," she said, specifically in regard to missing persons cases.
"It's been eleven days and they won't let us in his Athena files," Kayton said on Wednesday evening. Kayton stated that MIT rejected two subpoenas for access to Athena files: one from her and one from the MIT Police filed through the district attorney.
In missing persons cases, Kayton suggested the judiciary "ease up on the burden of proof."
Family seeks information, help
Kayton asked for help from the MIT community in finding her son and said she is interested in any information about him.
"Investigations like this … they grind incredibly slowly," said Kayton. "New leads come … the list keeps shifting," she said.
Kayton expressed her desire to know who her son's non-MIT friends are. She said she would also like to know who was at the party with her son and whether anyone had heard Barclay mention east Cambridge.
Kayton is also looking for volunteers to canvass the east Cambridge area and praised the MIT Debate Team for their efforts. "They gave up their entire four-day weekend" to help with the search for Barclay, she said. Kayton also said the debate team found one of the first clues of the investigation; a receipt showing Barclay had purchased camping gear. Kayton said she does not believe the camping gear is related to her son's disappearance.
Adam J. Goldstein '09, president of the MIT Debate Team, said Barclay is a "very funny guy." "[I] hope that we can find him," said Goldstein.
Those interested in volunteering can contact Kayton at firstname.lastname@example.org.