Police: Missing UP student was watching train-hopping videos

Missing Persons

Owen Klinger, 18, has not been seen since October 6

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Missing University of Portland freshman Owen Klinger was watching videos on hopping trains and the film “Into the Wild” before disappearing earlier this month, investigators said.

The Portland Police Bureau released the information Wednesday afternoon. Investigators said Klinger was last seen on Sunday, Oct. 6 after he told his friends he was off to a team meeting.

Klinger did not attend any team meetings, according to detectives, but instead withdrew money from a campus ATM, turned off his phone and left campus around 7:50 p.m. that night.

The 18-year-old was last seen walking on North Willamette Boulevard near the intersection of North Portsmouth Avenue and North Lombard Street, police said. Investigators think he continued walking north toward North Columbia.

Freight trains are often staged in the direction Klinger was last seen walking toward, police said.

Searchers once again scoured North Portland on Wednesday evening. Mary Klinger said her son’s disappearance simply doesn’t add up.

“Owen has never been out of touch with his friends, never been out of touch with his family,” she told KOIN 6 News on Wednesday. “If he wanted to go on an adventure or on a trip, he would’ve taken a friend. He would have taken more of his stuff.”

Investigators said the teen had not only watched videos on hopping trains prior to his disappearance but also “Into the Wild” — a movie based on a true story in which a young man gives up his profession and tries to live off the grid in the Alaskan wilderness.

“All the theories are equally terrifying for a mom,” she said.

A billboard for missing University of Portland student Owen Klinger, Oct. 16, 2019. (Courtesy of Pacific Outdoor Advertising)

But the theory doesn’t that Klinger may have purposely vanished doesn’t make sense to his family and friends, including to Owen Traw who has known Klinger since middle school.

“You can’t really know what is going on behind the scenes but I think everyone was really surprised by this because for those of us who know him, it doesn’t seem like something he would do,” said Traw.

Wherever Klinger may be, it’s clear that many, many people just want to know he’s safe.

“I hope that he is out there somewhere still okay and that these efforts that everyone is helping with will bring him home,” said his mom.

The 6-foot-1, 165-pound student was last seen wearing a light-blue hooded sweatshirt, jeans and had a drawstring backpack.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

On the left a surveillance photo of Owen Klinger on the University of Portland campus around the time he was last seen, October 6, 2019. On the right, an undated courtesy photo to KOIN

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