Hundreds of people filled Chapel of Christ the Teacher Thursday night during a prayer vigil for missing University of Portland student Owen Klinger. Klinger has been missing since 7:30 p.m. Sunday when he was last seen leaving Christie Hall, his dorm. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Klinger’s family and friends attended alongside members of the UP community who filled seats and lined the walls of the chapel. Klinger’s family sat in the front, while members of Christie Hall filled multiple pews nearby.
Prayers were offered for Klinger and his safe return. After the vigil, everyone in the chapel held a lighted candle and processed outside to the Marian Garden by the bell tower.
“Portland is home for Owen — that’s why we have such a great network here and a wonderful community,” Mary Klinger, Owen’s mom said. “University of Portland was his choice for college, too, and though it has been only six weeks for him so far, this has been a wonderful home and community for him and we’re so grateful to be a part of it.”
Being a freshman, Owen is a part of a first-year workshop group that meets weekly to help students with the transition to college. Owen’s workshop group went to the vigil and gathered together after the service, their candles remaining lit long after the crowd dispersed.
Kaylee DeLoye, Owen’s workshop group leader, said the group has been meeting every day this week outside of their normal meeting time and has grown closer as a result. During one of the meetings, one of the members brought Owen’s flannel to the classroom and put it on his chair.
“There’s 17 of them and one of me, so the 18 of us have become a whole team and we’re inseparable — we’re family and without Owen, someone’s missing from our family,” Kaylee DeLoye said. “Being together is the thing that makes us strongest and having Owen’s presence there too, even when he’s not.”
Anyone with information about Owen is encouraged to contact Public Safety at 503-943-7161, Portland Police at 503-823-3333 or family and friends of Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Community members can also fill out an anonymous reporting form if they have any information.
Maddie Pfeifer is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.