PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - The family of a 21-year-old Rice University student who went missing while on spring break in Panama City Beach is asking the public to continue looking for him.
Reny Jose, a mechanical engineering student visiting Florida from Houston, was reported missing Tuesday morning from the beach-front home he rented with about a dozen friends.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office says a marine unit is searching the Gulf of Mexico near the home Jose was staying. They've also notified authorities in neighboring counties and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Jose's friends said they last saw him near the house on Monday evening. Deputies later found his clothes, cell phone and wallet in a trash can.
A friend told investigators that Jose had taken LSD on Monday and talked about committing suicide.
Benny Thottam, a friend of Jose's father, told the News Herald of Panama City that the news came as a shock to the family. He said family members don't believe Jose, who is a 4.0 student and enjoys volleyball and spending time with family, would have been involved in drugs.
"He was looking forward to graduating," Thottam said.
The family asked the community to remain vigilant.
"We desperately just want him home and urgently plead with all of Panama City for their help," the family said in a prepared statement.
Anyone with information about Jose is asked to contact the Bay County Sheriff's Office at 850-747-5079 or CrimeStoppers at 850-785-TIPS (8477). Jose's family has created a Facebook page called FIND RENY JOSE to exchange information.
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