A distressing new trend appears to be sweeping America’s law schools. From the sun-kissed beaches of Miami to the frozen turf of the Big House, law students have been reported missing. With law school exams just around the corner, learning of the disappearance of a classmate or friend only exacerbates law student stress.
In early November, Tom “Tommy”‘ Daniels, 28, a law student at Florida International University, was reported missing. According to a news release issued by FIU, Tom Daniels was in contact with Miami Beach police on November 5 — three days after he was last seen by his friends, but before he was officially reported missing. More details appear in the Miami Herald; the full news release, including a number to call if you have information about Daniels’s whereabouts, appears after the jump.
More recently, a law student at the University of Michigan was reported missing. According to the Michigan Daily, Casey Neil McGinnis, 35, was last seen on November 11. Parents and friends of Casey McGinnis have conveyed their concern about his whereabouts to the Ann Arbor police.
A UM law student who brought McGinnis’s disappearance to our attention told us: “Everyone’s pretty freaked out right now. He’s a really nice kid, and we’re all hoping for the best.”
There is no indication of foul play in the disappearance of either student. And both Tom Daniels and Casey McGinnis seem quite capable of defending themselves. Neither may be a Shady Yassin, but both are males of substantial size — Daniels is 6’5″ and 230 pounds, and McGinnis is 6’2″ and 210 pounds. (See their photos above for help in recognizing them.)
Earlier this year, Annie Le, a Yale graduate student, was found dead in a research building on the university’s New Haven campus — on the day she was to be married. A lab co-worker of hers, Raymond Clark, stands accused of the murder.
Taken together, these recent developments raise the question: are American universities doing enough to keep their students safe? Or are these just coincidences, isolated occurrences that don’t say anything about campus safety?
A news release from FIU and a memo from Michigan, plus telephone numbers to call if you have information about either missing student, appear after the jump.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY — NEWS RELEASE
FIU Police Continue to Investigate Case of Missing Law Student
MIAMI (Nov. 17, 2009) – Florida International University police continue to follow leads in the case of an FIU law student who was reported missing last week. FIU police have now learned that Tommy Damon Daniels, 28, had contact with Miami Beach Police on Nov. 5, three days after he was last seen by his friends at a pizzeria in West Miami Dade County, but before he was reported missing.
According to the Miami Beach police report, Daniels called 911 on Nov. 5. Fire-rescue transported him to Mount Sinai Medical Center. The hospital reports having no record of him being registered or treated.
“We are still very concerned about Mr. Daniels’ safety and ask the community to assist us in locating him,” said FIU Police Chief Bill King.
FIU police continue to look for Daniels in hospitals, shelters and other county facilities.
Daniels is a 6-foot-5-inch white male, weighs 230 pounds, and has brown eyes and brown hair. Anyone with information on Daniels’ whereabouts should call FIU police at 305-348-2626 or 305-348-2633.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LAW SCHOOL — MEMORANDUM
Subject: Missing law student
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2009 13:00:32 -0500
From: “David H. Baum”
To: All Law Students
A number of you have learned from a recent posting on AnnArbor.com or the Michigan Daily that one of our students, Casey McGinnis, is missing. The Law School administration has been aware of the situation for about a week-and-a-half, a couple of days after Casey’s last known contact with anyone. We have been in communication with Casey’s family, as have other appropriate offices in the University. The Ann Arbor Police Department is involved and has taken steps to locate Casey, and the University of Michigan Police are aware, too. The Law School is being kept apprised of any developments.
I want to emphasize that there is absolutely no indication of foul play.
A few of you have expressed concern that you had to learn about this matter from a source other than the Law School administration. Until recently, the matter was relatively private, one that Casey’s family was handling with the police and various people in the University administration. Casey is a second-term (summer starter) 1L. His Legal Practice classmates, who noticed that Casey had not been in class for several days and had begun to express concern, were informed last week by their professor that Casey was missing. Since the matter only recently became public, it did not seem appropriate for us to send a message to the entire community about this until now, primarily out of concerns for the privacy of Casey and his family. I hope you understand.
For anyone who has special concerns or feels they are in need of personal support, please come see me or Dean Gregory in the Law School Student Affairs Office. To make an appointment to see me, please see the information below. [Information redacted.]
David H. Baum
Assistant Dean and Senior Manager of Student Affairs
University of Michigan Law School
Ed. note: If you have information about McGinnis’s disappearance, please call Ann Arbor police at 734-794-6939.
Missing FIU law student called 911 3 days after disappearing [Miami Herald]
Law School student reported missing [The Wire / Michigan Daily]
University of Michigan Law School student reported missing [AnnArbor.com]