Ian Burnet studies engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. He came to New York City to celebrate the New Year holiday with friends and has been missing since Dec. 30 – no one has heard from him. Sources say the 22-year-old has a history of suicide attempts, according to NBC New York.
Ian left his Richmond, Va., home the day after Christmas and took a bus to New York. He was planning to rent an apartment for a week with friends, authorities said.
According to The New York Daily News, Burnet’s last known contact was a text with a friend on Dec. 30. He was seen that afternoon at the apartment where he had been staying on 139th St. and Riverside Drive. He left without his cell phone and did not say where he was going.
Ian’s mother, Nancy Burnett, said, “It’s completely out of character. We have no reason to think that he would do something like this.” The last time she heard from her son was via text on Dec. 27, after he visited Central Park, she said.
Concerned family and friends utilized Facebook and the online community Reddit to spread the word about Burnet’s disappearance. Burnet’s older brother Jamie, a Reddit user, responded to one user who asked, “Have you ever thought he DOESN’T want to be found?” and said, “Yes. There’s a very real possibility that he took his own life, and I’m trying not to think about it. He has a history of depression, and there have been scares before. But he didn’t leave any last messages behind, which would be extremely uncharacteristic … I’m hoping that’s not the case.”
Investigators learned that Ian Burnet has attempted suicide at least three times in the past, at least once by combining alcohol and taking prescription pills. His family has said he doesn’t have a history of drug abuse or alcoholism.
Investigators tracked his MetroCard to the 145th Street station on the northbound 1 line, close to the West Harlem apartment where he was staying on the day he disappeared. They are reviewing video footage from cameras at the station in search of clues.
On his Reddit Page, Jamie Burnet wrote of his brother, “We’ve put up fliers and we’ve talked to the shelters and the cops but I don’t know what else to do. He has a history of depression and he was in a strange place. He was an engineer, a redditor, and the most important person in my life. I need your help. I realize that this subreddit has only the minutest fraction of the population of New York City subscribed, and even all of reddit combined, all of the INTERNET put together, would not represent a hopeful percentage, but I don’t know what to do.”
The Facebook page dedicated to finding Ian had more than 2,200 members as of today. Another site, findianburnet.com which is no longer active was also set up to spread the word about his disappearance.
Ian Burnet is described as 5’8”, 131 pounds, with dark green eyes and curly brown hair. Anyone with information is asked to call the New York Police Department at (212) 690-8811.
Hopefully, this young man will be found alive and healthy.