Baldwin ’10 Declared Missing by Police

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Matthew Baldwin, from his Facebook profile

The Swarthmore Borough Police has opened an official missing persons investigation into the whereabouts of Swarthmore student Matthew Baldwin ’10. Dean of Students Jim Larimore informed the Swarthmore College community of this at 11:03am today through an e-mail, writing, “I regret to inform you of some worrisome news. Swarthmore Borough Police have issued a missing persons alert and are seeking assistance in locating a student. Matthew Baldwin ’10, age 21.”

According to Swarthmore Borough Police Chief Brian Craig, the most up-to-date information places the last known communication with Baldwin at 1:00am Monday morning. Craig noted that all known, recent communications Baldwin had had were “positive,” but that neither friends nor family had heard from him since. His last known physical whereabouts, according to Swarthmore College Director of Public Safety Owen Redgrave, was “Sunday at the Ben West House.”

Redgrave said that Public Safety “has searched all of campus, outside and buildings, basements and out-of-the-way places,” and indicated that both the college staff and the “Providence police who border the other side of the Crum” have been notified of the investigation.

The College was first alerted on Tuesday at 1:00pm by a concerned friend of Baldwin’s. Public Safety and the Deans Office proceeded to speak with Baldwin’s RA, called his number, checked his college electronic footprint (library and dining hall access), and checked with his classes and professors. That night, after finding no indication that he was on campus or had made recent contact with anyone, the College brought the information to the police.

“[The situation] is pretty much a mystery. Theories abound. There is nothing definitive,” Redgrave said. “ITS is still trying to get more information from [Baldwin’s] computer.”

However, according to Craig, as of approximately 5:00pm, Swarthmore Police Sergeant Raymond Stufflet was out with a tracker dog “to see if [it] can pick up the scent of [Baldwin] anywhere in the Crum Woods.” Craig cautioned that this was to investigate only one of many possibilities; he further said that information will be disseminated “to all we can tell it to” if anything is revealed from the woods search.

“We’re trying to determine what was taken from [Baldwin’s] room, and what was left in his room as indications if he was prepared for the weather or may have even been prepared to take a trip of some sort,” Craig said.

Craig further said that, “The information we have right now indicates that the student enjoyed going off by himself and being in nature, and was impressed with the [landscape] scenes of the newly fallen snow.”

While no possibility is yet off the table, Craig indicated that the police are currently doubtful that anything like abduction took place, saying that none of the “classical signs” of abduction were present. “Things in his room were too well ordered for kidnapping, [he] apparently had left messages for people – so that’s not under consideration. Basically, any self-determined actions are all on the table at this point,” Craig said.

In an e-mail to the Gazette, Larimore wrote that the Deans Office would “provide [situation] updates as the situation warrants, balancing the community’s need to know with the student’s privacy.”

In his e-mail, Larimore also expressed appreciation for the assistance a number of students have provided on the case since his e-mail announcement this morning. Craig and Larimore both urged for anyone who thinks they may have information relevant to Baldwin’s disappearance to call either 911 or Public Safety (610-328-8333) at any hour.

“We’re picking up little bits and pieces of information all the time. We have probably changed [investigative] direction three times today. Everyone is trying to deal with this as best we can,” Craig said. “Our primary concern right now is for the safety of the student.”


  1. So, if the Crum is a big deal in this, why was there no search party? How is one police officer plus a dog supposed to comb the whole woods? Seems to me as though that may actually be the secondary rather than the primary theory in this. What an awful situation. 🙁

  2. What does it mean when the article says he "had apparently had left messages for people." Messages about what? Were they left in his room?

  3. This is really sad. I hope he is found soon. And we just had that big snowstorm too…I hope he is warm.

  4. Why isn't there a search party in the Crum? I am so sad for his family and friends this must be awful for them. I hope so much that Matthew is safe.

  5. I hope something has been done to try and locate him with his cellphone signal, or where he was at the time of his most recent call. In any case, I hope he is found safe and sound soon.

  6. If it indeed turns out to be true that he took a trip by himself or decided to camp, doesn't this seem like a major invasion of his privacy? Combing his room, computer, getting the police involved?

  7. Re: Marc Engel.
    I think that invasion of privacy is the least of everyone's concerns right now. The primary concern is to find him and make sure he's okay.

    I hope that Swatties can take time out this weekend to organize crum and campus space search parties. Swarthmore is really small and it should be easy to carefully comb through the neighbourhood.

    My thoughts are with his family.

  8. Searches have been conducted by multiple parties, not just the police. There are no signs of matthew in the crum. If he was actually seen in Ben West as reported, it is unlikely that he is in the Crum (makes no sense based on his housing).

  9. This is pretty sad. You can't just disappear anymore without warner and larimore sending abrasively politic emails and creating a facebook group. Next up, the Matthew Baldwin camping adventures parlor party.

  10. I am very happy to hear that Matthew is safe.

    @ student: it is entirely reasonable that Matthew's friends and family, and the administration should be worried about his lack of communication. Whether you're an adult or a college student, if you're going to go off on your own, you have to let at least one person know where you are going and work out some form of communication in an emergency. As jk states, it is irresponsible, immature, and even inconsiderate to the people who care about you to simply disappear without letting anyone know.

    Matthew is safe, but what if something *had* happened to him? Should we not be worried? Should we assume that he is safe? How long can we make this assumption? It is better to play on the safe side. However, Matthew should not have simply gone. Even if he was looking for some alone time, he should have told someone where he was going and for how long.

    Remember that guy who had to cut off his own arm because he was trapped under a rock while hiking? He had not told anyone where he was going or for how long, and therefore no one knew where to look for him, and the consequences were terrible.

    Everyone should consider the possibility of something going wrong when they go off by themselves and let someone know where they're going and when they should be expected back.

  11. The student that commented above is obviously immature as well. No one knew where Matthew was.

    I commend his friends who alerted the school. The campus community for caring and being proactive in trying to find Matthew as well as setting up the facebook group and using any means available to get the word out. I am so proud to have a daughter who is a student at Swarthmore.

    Remember, your parents love you and want you safe and happy.

  12. hey, the man just wanted to do a little camping and not have everyone all up in his grill. Like the Lost in the Wild Dude. Commendable I say.

  13. I think that it is clear that taking off from school for a full week of classes (right before a vacation) without letting anyone know is reason enough for some alarm. If all Matthew wanted was some alone time he could have told ANYONE he was going to go camping and then all of this ado would have been avoided. Camping on a school night is not a big deal, but doing so for a week of school nights without letting someone know is because such an extended absence suggests that something may be seriously wrong.
    Furthermore, having invaded his privacy to try to find out where he was should be the least of anyone's worries, although I do agree that now that he was found he should be left alone to talk to his family and friends in peace.

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