Willimantic — The pain and angst on the faces of Corrinna Martin and Christopher Wiley was undeniable.
It had been nearly two weeks since anyone has seen or heard from their daughter, 20-year-old Alyssiah Marie Wiley.
The pair mustered enough strength to speak Thursday morning outside the Public Safety Complex at Eastern Connecticut State University, asking that anyone with information come forward.
The last time Wiley, a West Haven native, was seen on the campus was on the morning of April 20 by her dorm roommate. She was last seen that evening in the area of the Dairy Queen on Main Street. On April 24, state police said, they were contacted by university police regarding Wiley's disappearance. University police had started a search after being informed that Wiley could not be located by friends or family.
Wiley is a sophomore majoring in psychology and minoring in biology.
Martin said her daughter wants to go to medical school and get her doctorate in psychology.
"This is not a young woman who would walk away from such a bright life," said Martin. "This is not a young woman who would put her family through this much grief. This is, however, a young lady full of energy, full of hope."
Martin begged the public to come forward, even with the slightest information. "I'm pleading with the public as a mother who wants her daughter back. ... We need for anybody who knows something to come forward. You will not be labeled a snitch. You can do so anonymously."
Wiley simply said, "Please, please help us."
Martin said police have leads, but those have thus far failed to bring her daughter back home. She became visibly distraught and did not stay for the duration of the press conference.
State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said K-9 teams are searching the area. He said state and university police will conduct spot checks in the area of Main, Valley and Prospect streets on Saturday.
State police detectives from Major Crimes and Missing Persons are working on the investigation. The Emergency Services Trooper K-9 teams are conducting searches of specific areas for investigators.
Last Friday, state police found a 2009 Nissan Altima they had been looking for in connection with the case in the Fairfield area. Police, however, did not say why they were looking for the car.
Vance said the search for Wiley continues to grow and has spread across the state. He said police remain optimistic and are working under the assumption that Wiley is still alive. He said she hasn't used her cellphone since she disappeared, and no one has had contact with her.
Vance said their job is to make sure that Wiley is OK and not force her to come home against her will. He added, however, that there is no indication that Wiley was upset and didn't want to be found.
"This appears to be an isolated incident," Vance said. "We do have some information, but we are missing that one small piece of information that one might consider minor and insignificant. No matter how small you might think your information is, that little piece may help move this case to the next level."
Windham County State's Attorney Patricia M. Froehlich also spoke at the press conference and encouraged anyone with information to come forward. She said her office Wednesday created a Facebook page, Windham CT State's Attorney's Office, so people can share information on Wiley's disappearance.
"I know that someone out there knows where Alyssiah is," said Froehlich.
Edward H. Osborn, director of university relations, said residential staff in Wiley's dorm have been working with students there who have sought support from staff following the disappearance. Counseling staff met with students Thursday afternoon to provide counseling services.
Osborn added there is no specific threat to the campus community.
Safety measures at Eastern include more than 330 video cameras throughout the campus; 75 blue emergency phones; an emergency notification system; key fob access to dormitories; safety lighting at bus stops and in parking lots; and a full-time police department of 16 sworn officers who patrol campus 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Anyone with information about Wiley's whereabouts is urged to call the Missing Persons Clearinghouse at (860) 685-8190.