Police seek public’s help in search for missing Duquesne student [UPDATED]

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Police Dakota Leo James, 23, of the North Side, was last seen Jan. 25 at around 11:30 p.m. in Downtown's Market Square.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Police

Dakota Leo James, 23, of the North Side, was last seen Jan. 25 at around 11:45 p.m. in the Cultural District’s Katz Plaza.

Brandon Addeo | News Editor

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. Check back regularly for updates.

UPDATE 12:45 p.m. 3/6/2017

Police confirmed that a body found this morning in the Ohio River is that of missing Duquesne student Dakota James. Read more here.

UPDATE 5:00 p.m. 2/28/2017

Pittsburgh Police held a press briefing today on the investigation into Dakota James’ disappearance.

Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Matthew Redpath said James turned up in a surveillance video Jan. 25 — the same night he disappeared — at Scott Place around 11:49 p.m. Scott Place borders Katz Plaza, where James appeared in a surveillance video at 11:46 p.m. on Jan 25, released by police Feb. 7.

Redpath said the video showed James walking toward Fort Duquesne Boulevard, but it was not clear which direction on Fort Duquesne Boulevard James turned. James did not appear in surveillance footage from nearby bridges the night of Jan. 25, police said.

“We’re going to continue to search,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said. “We want to find Dakota for his family.”

Police encouraged anyone who might have seen James the night of Jan. 25 to come forward.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. 2/21/2017

According to KDKA, crews searched for Dakota James around Neville Island on the Ohio River this morning, using boats and drones to search the water.

UPDATE: 9:00 a.m. 2/21/2017

Family, friends and local residents held a candlelight vigil for Dakota James, who has now been missing for 27 days, last night at Katz Plaza, where Dakota was last seen Jan. 25.

No new information has emerged on the whereabouts of James.

UPDATE: 9:30 p.m. 2/7/2017

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Police This surveillance camera footage shows Dakota James and using his phone in Katz Plaza in the Cultural District.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Police

This surveillance camera footage shows Dakota James and using his phone in Katz Plaza in the Cultural District.

New security footage has emerged showing Dakota James in the Cultural District’s Katz Plaza at 11:46 p.m. on Jan. 25. The video also shows James wearing a black or blue hoodie, instead of an olive-colored hoodie as originally reported. Investigators believe he was walking in the direction of his home on the North Side.

UPDATE: 11:00 a.m. 2/7/2017

Pittsburgh Police issued an update Feb. 6 on the search for Dakota James.

According to a press release, hours of surveillance footage from 16 different locations have been reviewed by detectives so far. River Rescue teams are conducting “daily” searches in the three Pittsburgh rivers, and a bloodhound team and mountain rescue team searched the river banks for James on Feb. 3 and 4, respectively.

Pennsylvania State Police are conducting aerial searches for James, the release said.

“Our detectives are diligently working every angle. We maintain an open line of communication with the family and are supportive of them during this truly trying time,” said Chief Scott Schubert in the release. “I also want to express gratitude to the public for calling in tips, the businesses that are providing access to their surveillance video, and our law enforcement partners. We will find Dakota.”

UPDATE: 9:30 p.m. 2/2/2017

The James family announced today a $10,000 reward for any information leading to Dakota James’ location.

UPDATE: 12:00 p.m. 1/31/2017

Pamela James, Dakota’s mother, said in a Jan. 31 Facebook post that new information places Dakota’s last known location at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and Smithfield Street at 11:49 p.m. on Jan. 25.

3:10 p.m. 1/29/2017

A Duquesne commuter student has been reported missing.

Dakota Leo James, 23, of the North Side, was last seen around 11 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 in Market Square. James is pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration at Duquesne, according to Duquesne spokeswoman Rose Ravasio.

“This is not character for Dakota at all,” Pamela James, Dakota’s mother, wrote in a Jan. 28 Facebook post. “He is such an organized person, never misses school or work.

Police describe James as white male with brown hair and blue eyes, standing 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. He has a thin chin-strap beard and both of his ears are pierced. According to a missing person’s poster, James also has a triangle-shaped Deathly Hallows symbol from “Harry Potter” tattooed on the inside of his left ankle.

He was wearing blue jeans, an olive-colored hoodie and tan moccasins the night he disappeared, according to police.

Police ask anyone with information to contact the Pittsburgh Police’s Missing Persons Unit at 412-323-7141 or Duquesne Police at 412-396-2677.

 

 

 

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