Missing Saint Mary’s student raises concern

Allison Mueller

Cheney Mason / Winonan

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota student Luke Ringhand, reported missing since early Monday, March 21, was found safe in Chicago on the morning of Wednesday, March 23. Sources say that it was unknown why Ringhand was in Chicago when authorities located him.

An email was sent out to students of both Saint Mary’s and Winona State University to alert students of the situation and to help locate him. The email stated that Ringhand was last seen on video leaving campus at 4:30 a.m. in a charcoal-grey Cadillac.

This email raised concern among some students who were surprised that this situation was called to attention so quickly.

“It was like the same day as he had gone missing that the alert was sent out,” first-year student, Brett Lubinski said. “I thought that was weird because usually people wait 24 hours before calling police about a missing person, but this was taken care of the same day.”

Assistant Director of Security at Winona State, Scott Bestul recommended visiting the Winona State security website for extra information regarding protocol on missing students.

A document regarding the protocol for a missing student or member of the campus community stated the person who becomes aware of the missing person must report the incident to Winona State Security right away.

The document continued to discuss an instance where the student has yet to be located after a 24-hour period. If this were to occur, notification of the designated contact person(s) is made to determine whether or not they know the whereabouts of the student.

Protocol also said a notification about a reported missing student has the potential to be made sooner than a 24-hour period if circumstances warrant it.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ (MnSCU), of which Winona State is a part of information stated, “The Public Safety Department has established a Missing Student Emergency Contact database, where on-campus students may register a confidential emergency contact to be notified in the event they are reported missing.”

If after investigation the resident of the university has been missing for more than 24-hours, the university will notify both the students designated contact and local law enforcement.

If a student of the university is an on-campus resident, MnSCU protocol says to report directly to local law enforcement if a report has been made.

Anyone needing to file a missing person’s report should contact Winona State security at 507-457-5158 or the Winona Police Department immediately when concerned.