http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2010/02/12/news/srv0000007585931.txtRelatives hope for Poole's safe return
Published: Friday, February 12, 2010 5:50 AM EST
By SUSAN FIELD Clare Managing Editor
Nicholas Von Gero never dreamed his friend would end up missing.
It wasn't like Matthew Owen Poole to take off without telling anyone where he was going.
Now, Von Gero and Poole's other friends and family are praying and hoping for his safe return, almost a week since he was last seen.
Poole, 22, of Wolverine Lake was leaving the Wayside bar at about 10:50 p.m. Friday, the same time Von Gero, of Commerce Township, was arriving.
Von Geroa and Poole had come to Mt. Pleasant together, to visit friends who attend Central Michigan University.
Poole was not allowed to enter the bar, and Von Gero isn't certain why.
Poole didn't appear to be too drunk when the two were with other friends at an off-campus apartment earlier in the day Friday, Von Gero said.
When Von Gero last saw Poole, he was headed in the direction of another friend's apartment, leading him to believe that he would find that friend at home and spend time there.
Still, he left the bar in search of Poole but could not find him.
He returned to the bar, still believing that Poole had gone to a party at the other friend's apartment, he said.
"We didn't think anything of it at the time," he said. "I figured he could have grabbed a cab."
By Saturday morning, Poole hadn't contacted Von Gero, but he wasn't too worried; he simply figured Poole had been up late and was sleeping in.
When Von Gero called the other friend's apartment later Saturday and found that Poole wasn't there, that's when he began to worry.
"Taking off like that isn't like him," Von Gero said.
Poole's friends spent the day trying to track him down and, when they came up empty, called police.
When Von Gero learned that a man matching Poole's description had been spotted walking on the south U.S. 127 business loop, he was skeptical.
"It just doesn't seem like he would have that in his mind, to walk home," Von Gero said.
Poole was upset Friday when he was not allowed in to the bar after traveling from Oakland County to see friends, Von Gero said, but he doesn't believe Poole would have tried to walk far in the cold weather, particularly because he was wearing a light jacket.
"At this point, we want answers," he said. "I just don't know what to think.
"Everybody is worried sick. It really hurts every time I talk to his dad."
Von Gero believes that if Poole had fallen while walking, police would have found him when they searched the area where he was last seen, in patrol cars and with the assistance of a state police aviation team.
Some of Poole's downstate friends returned to town, scouring the woods in the U.S. 127 business loop area, but found nothing, Von Gero said.
Poole is described as an African American, standing 5-feet, 11-inches, weighing 150 pounds with short black hair and brown eyes, and wearing black pants, a white t-shirt and a green sports jacket with the word "Coogie" on the back.Anyone with information is asked to call the Mt. Pleasant Police Department at 989-779-5100; the department's tip line at 989-779-9111; or Isabella County Central Dispatch at 989-773-1000.