Pickerington Times-Sun

Family appeals for help in search for missing Pickerington grad

Sam Wiater was last seen in Athens on March 13

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Nearly a month after Pickerington High School Central graduate Sam Wiater disappeared in Athens, Ohio, his family is issuing a further appeal to the public for help in locating him.

March 13, Trina Wiater received a call from her son and could tell something wasn't right.

"He seemed a little upset," Wiater said. "He was kind of panicky when he called.

"It was about 8:43 (p.m.) and we got disconnected," she said.

"I called back three minutes later and said, 'Do you want me to come down there?' and he said, 'Yes.' "

That was the last time Mrs. Wiater heard from her 21-year-old son, a 2011 graduate of Central.

She said she arrived in Athens about 10 p.m. the same night of the call, but received harrowing news from one of Sam's roommates.

"He told her he needed to go down to the river to die," Wiater said.

Despite the roommate's attempts to intervene, Sam reportedly pushed her aside. He was last seen near a bike path along the Hocking River near Currier Street in Athens.

Athens City Police did not immediately return calls regarding the department's search for Sam, but Wiater said local police have used their resources and those of the U.S. Coast Guard to search the river.

Although his disappearance is alarming to the Wiater family, they're holding out hope he's still out there, because the advanced technology used to try to locate him has been unable to turn up any clues to his whereabouts.

Saturday, April 12, the Wiaters and volunteers assembled at 2 p.m. at Church of the Good Shepherd, 64 University Terrace in Athens, to distribute and post flyers for help in locating Sam.

"In addition, Avalanche Pizza, Sam's employer at the time of his disappearance, has also agreed to put missing-person flyers on all their large, to-go boxes," said Jeff Wiater, Sam's father.

"We are requesting and encouraging the assistance of other local businesses as well," Mr. Wiater said.

"We want everyone to see Sam's face.

"Sam is not in any trouble at all -- we just want our son back and we need everyone's help in finding him," he said.

Anyone with information about Sam's whereabouts is asked to call the Athens Police Department at 740-593-6606.

If a crime has been committed related to Sam's disappearance, a $2,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible for the crime.

Tips can be provided to Crime Solvers Anonymous at 740-594-3331.

"There's been no trace or any sign in the water," Mrs. Wiater said. "There's been nothing around the banks.

"We just don't know where in the world he is. It's very scary."

In addition to volunteer help or information, Mrs. Wiater said she's appreciated the support her family has received from the community.

She asked for continued assistance in the search, as well as for prayers.

"We all love him and miss him," she said. "If he's going through something, we'll do anything we possibly can to help him."

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