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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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UW-Milwaukee freshman Sean Baek, a Type 1 diabetic, was last seen Feb. 14 leaving his residence hall after taking LSD.

Search for missing UW-Milwaukee student enters third week

Over two weeks after he was last seen, police continue to search for UW-Milwaukee freshman Sean Baek who disappeared after he and another student took LSD in the early hours of Feb. 14. 

Baek, 18, a Type 1 diabetic, was last seen leaving UW-Milwaukee’s Cambridge Commons residence hall at 1:25 a.m., wearing a maroon and white shirt, black pants, white shoes and a dark green Milwaukee Bucks hat, according to authorities

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Baek’s Type 1 diabetes makes him insulin-dependent, needing medication regularly.

Prior to his disappearance, Baek and another student took LSD, said UW-Milwaukee Police Chief Joseph LeMire at a Feb. 17 press conference. The other student started to react badly to the drug, and someone called campus police. Shortly after, Baek ran out of the residence hall.

Around the same time cameras captured Baek leaving the building, an eyewitness spotted someone running toward the Milwaukee River near Cambridge Commons. LeMire said this account is consistent with the direction Baek ran and the time he left. 

At 1:20 a.m., five minutes before he was seen last, Baek sent a text to his father reading, “I love you guys, I am so sorry.” 

Baek’s phone was only pinged once, within minutes of his disappearance, when he was still near the residence hall, which LeMire said could mean the phone is off, out of battery, damaged or submerged in water. 

Kristin Erickson, Baek’s mother, explained on social media her belief that her son’s text was apologizing for drug use, not implying suicidal ideation. 

“[H]e would NEVER have killed himself. He helped others [who were] feeling that way,” Erickson tweeted Feb. 21. “He thought he’d be thrown out of college, hence his text.”

In the press conference, LeMire said the police do not have any evidence to support social media rumors Baek was abducted and taken to Chicago, and authorities do not suspect foul play. 

“It is UWM's fervent hope that Sean is alive and well and that he is found soon," LeMire said.

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UW-Milwaukee Dean of Students Adam Jussel posted an update on the investigation Friday, calling it “an exhaustive search, both physical and electronic.” 

“We know this is a difficult time for Sean’s friends and family, and our hope is Sean will still be found,” Jussel wrote. 

Anyone with information should contact UW-Milwaukee police at (414) 229-4627 or Milwaukee police at (414) 935-7211. 

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