Police Chief: 'We Want To Find Dakota'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police say they are still hopeful they will find missing Duquesne University grad student, Dakota James, who has been missing since January.

Officials held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to update the progress on the search for the 23-year-old James, who was living on the North Side.

He was last spotted in Downtown Pittsburgh on the night of Jan. 25 after a co-worker caught a ride home using a ride-sharing app. Police said the next day he was a no-show for work.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said, “We want to find Dakota for his family.”

Investigators updated the timeline from when James went missing, to the search for him and all the tips they’ve received of possible sightings of him, as well as an incident they investigated with the Shaler Police that turned out to be hoax.

All tips have turned up negative.

Police and other local officials have been looking for James by land, on the rivers and by air. The national group, Bring Our Missing Home, has even joined the search.

The last sighting of James was on a surveillance camera. He was captured on it walking through Katz Plaza in the in the Cultural District downtown at 11:46 p.m. on the night he disappeared. He was using his cell phone, police say texting a message to his father, who was out-of-state at the time.

Before that, he and a co-worker had been at the Wood Street T Station, where that co-worker left him after police say that person requested a ride through an app.

Earlier this month, searchers combed the shoreline on the North Shore where dogs picked up a scent near the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

The most recent intensive search focused on the area around Neville Island, near the RMU Sports Complex. Officials even brought in a drone there last week to get an overhead look at the area.

Police said at the news conference that each case is unique, but they are not giving up hope.

“We’ll continue searching, continue the investigation, and hopefully someone that’s listening can call us and let us know, give us some additional information, some more leads to follow up on, and we’ll just keep working,” said Pittsburgh Police Lt. Victor Joseph.

There’s also a $10,000 reward for anyone who has information about where James may be. Police say the case remains a missing persons investigation, and as of this time, there’s no indication that foul play was involved.

Anyone with information on Dakota James’ whereabouts is asked to contact police.

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