(BELLINGHAM, Washington) -- A body believed to be that of college freshman Dwight Clark has been found in a pond near the Western Washington University campus where the straight-A student had been attending classes for only a few weeks.
Identification belonging to Clark was found in a pocket and the body appeared to have been in the water for "several days," according to Bellingham Public Information Officer Mark Young.
The cause of his death is not yet known.
Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike said in a statement, "It is with deep sadness that we learn of today's discovery of a body on the Bellingham waterfront, likely that of Dwight Clark, a student whose disappearance in our community captured our hearts and left us all hoping fervently he would be found, alive and safe."
The pond where the body was found has numerous docks and many boats that could make it difficult to find a body.
Clark was a star student who sent thousands of text messages to his family and friends each month. His disappearance had puzzled authorities who had spent more than a week scouring the Western Washington University campus searching for him.
The 18-year-old had last been seen in the early morning hours of Sept. 26 when he left an off-campus party at Western Washington University to go back to his dorm, less than a mile away, according to Bellingham authorities.
Clark's case was classified as a "highly suspicious missing person (case)," according to Young, who admitted he was "baffled" by the disappearance.
Young said that while authorities are not certain foul play is involved in Clark's death, they have not ruled it out.
"Despite extensive searching, canine scent dogs, and numerous -- hundreds -- of volunteers, no evidence of any kind has been obtained to substantiate or indicate what happened to Clark," said Young.
Clark was seen leaving the apartment of a friend's house at approximately 2 a.m. on Sept. 26. There are conflicting reports about whether Clark had been drinking at the party, said Young.
"But after 2 a.m. after that party, nothing," said Young. "He hasn't been seen or heard from."
The college freshman, who had started classes just a week before he disappeared, was not known to take drugs and if he had been drinking the night he went missing, friends said he was "not inebriated to the point of not knowing where he was or what he was doing."
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