Minneapolis police look for missing University of Minnesota student, 22
MINNEAPOLIS -- A photo of Jennifer Houle from Thursday night shows the 22-year-old University of Minnesota student with a wide smile, her long blond hair flowing over the front of her green blouse.
MINNEAPOLIS - A photo of Jennifer Houle from Thursday night shows the 22-year-old University of Minnesota student with a wide smile, her long blond hair flowing over the front of her green blouse.
On Saturday, members of Houle's family and her friends circulated the photo on fliers in and around the Dinkytown area and through social media in an attempt to find the missing university senior, who was last seen and heard from early Friday morning.
"We need all the help we can get to find this warm-hearted, beautiful person," reads a post on the Facebook page of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, of which Houle is a member.
Houle, who grew up in the Stillwater, Minn., area, was last seen between 1 and 2 a.m. Friday at the Blarney Pub & Grill at 412 14th Ave. S.E. in the Dinkytown neighborhood, Minneapolis police said Saturday. Her purse was found about 3 a.m. in the 1100 block of Fourth Street S.E., about three blocks west of the bar.
Houle, of Minneapolis, is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 140 pounds, with long blond hair. She was wearing a light-gray jacket, green blouse, black leggings and dark high-heel shoes.
According to Houle's Facebook page, she attended the Annual Women In Business Gala at the McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday, an event that ran from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Police spokesman John Elder said late Saturday that investigators were working on leads they hope will shed light into her disappearance.
"We brought in extra staff today to work on this," he said.
"We're going through witnesses and anybody who had seen her and who called her. We're looking at videotape."
Houle is a student in the University of Minnesota's undergraduate program at the Carlson School of Management, where she is pursuing a double major in Human Resources and Industrial Relations and Accounting, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.
Madeline Eddy, Pi Beta Phi chapter president, released a statement Saturday on behalf of the chapter. It reads: "At this time, an investigation is underway for the search of our friend and sister, Jennifer Houle. Pi Beta Phi is fully cooperative and our main focus is finding Jen and supporting her family. We have posted to all of our social media sites describing all of the information we know at this time. If you have any information in the disappearance of our friend, please contact the Minneapolis Police Department as soon as possible. We appreciate all of the support."
On Saturday, light poles in front of the Blarney Bar had fliers taped to them. Mike Mulrooney, owner of the bar since 2004, said he "spent most of the day praying with tears."
"I have two daughters myself," he said, "and I just want to find (Houle). And we're going to do everything we can."
Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel said he got to know Houle and her parents, John and Diane, while Kriesel's granddaughter played volleyball with Jennifer in the Stillwater area several years ago.
He described Houle, who lived in Lake Elmo, Minn., and graduated from Stillwater Area High School, as "a bright and beautiful young lady."
"I'm very worried and I'm praying for a good outcome," he said.