DSU students vanish after cryptic phone call

Three young women, softball players and students at Dickinson State University, have been missing since placing a cryptic phone call Sunday night.

No one has heard from nor seen any of the three girls, identified as Kyrstin Gemar, 22, of Grossmont, CA, Afton Williamson, 20, of Lake Elsinore, CA, and Ashley Neufeld, 21, of Brandon, Manitoba in Canada. Reports have the girls “stargazing” near Lake Patterson in southwest North Dakota, as pastime in which the girls were known to engage. Dickinson Police Lt. Dave Wallace says that a friend of the girls received two phone calls, a minute apart, described as “very scratchy” and mentioning a lake and water before cutting out. The phone calls were the last known communication attempts from the three before their disappearance.

The recipient of the calls immediately contacted 911 to report the incident, and investigators are leaning towards the likelihood of an accident, although they have not ruled out foul play. Description of the call by the person who received it indicates “hysterical noises,” but no signs of the 1997 Jeep Cherokee with California plates were found at the lake, nor were there tracks or tire marks to help lead investigators to the missing girls. Air and water searches resumed this morning in the area, described by police and press as “rural.”

Dickinson State softball coach Guy Fridley spoke to press about morale in the search for the three teammates:

“It’s scary. It’s just a numbing feeling that you have for those kids. There’s just so many questions — you’re almost speechless because you don’t know much.”

[WAVY TV-10]