USF Student Missing, Family and Friends Hope for Safe Return

 

Missing USF student Bradley Bennett (Courtesy of Bennett Family)

Missing USF student Bradley Bennett (Courtesy of Bennett Family)

Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary when Bradley Bennett’s family last heard from him on January 4th — a little bit of uncertainty perhaps on what his next move was, but his father never suspected he would be filing a missing person’s report for his son just weeks later.

Bennett, a 32-year-old USF student, was reported missing after his friends and family couldn’t get ahold of him for weeks. He was spotted once in Fresno on Jan. 8 and once in Bear Valley on Jan. 13, but by the times those reports were made to the police, Bennett had already disappeared, according to his father Steve Bennett.

“The greatest fear is the fear of the unknown,” said Steve Bennett in regards to his son’s disappearance. As a pastor, he’s counseled parents who have lost a child to death, but “I think there’s closure with death, and this… this is a little different,” said his father.

Neither Bennett’s father or his friend Seva Mouler, a computer science graduate, suspect he was taken away against his will. “He was definitely one to go on adventures,” said Mouler. But this time is a little different, he thinks, because no one can get ahold of him. “I’ve called him a lot of times. [His phone] connects, rings a couple times, and then has an error,” said Mouler.

Bennett’s father thinks he might be on some kind of spiritual journey. “Brad is a Christian, and he thinks on the basis of that, he thinks about theology a lot,” he said.

His friend Mouler said he hopes that if that is the case, “he will come back a better person and figure everything out that he wants to figure out,” he said. Mouler was worried about his friend after finding out he was evicted from his Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotel in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, a result of the discontinuation of money he was receiving from the navy.

Bennett is a veteran, as he spent five years in the navy. After he returned, he lived in Jamestown, Ky., and spent a year living in Minnesota with his a friend he met while serving, but he was always drawn to California. His father thinks some of his uncertainty may have had to do with him missing his friends back home, and that he was having some trouble discovering himself.

As far as Bennett’s relationship with the family, Steve Bennett said they were all very close. “We’ve had a good relationship, not to say relationships aren’t strained from time to time,” he said.

Both his father and his friend spoke about his character. Mouler said he always had other people’s best interest in mind, saying he was so nice to others that it sometimes was detrimental to him. Steve Bennett explained that he was drawn to homeless people in San Francisco, Mouler thinks this is due to his desire to help people.

As far as his spirit, Steve Bennett said, “this is one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. “There’s still a little numbness, sometimes it’s a little hard to process everything,” said Bennett, trailing off.

Bradley Bennett is enrolled as a fine arts major at USF. He is an artist and loves drawing and painting. Mouler said Bennett loved all his classes and his teachers, and “he had no reason to leave USF.”

Steve Bennett explained, “one of the things I have learned from this is often we do not realize how our actions and our decisions can greatly affect other people.” He asks that the USF community acts as the eyes and ears for Bennett and his family, “because we’re not there. Any information leading to Bradley’s whereabouts is greatly appreciated.”

Bradley Bennett is 175 pounds and 6 feet tall. If anyone has information leading to Bennett, the San Francisco Police Department can be contacted at (415) 558-5508.

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