Search for missing 19-year-old expands in Regina

Search for missing 19-year-old expands in Regina
Friends concerned for missing Cougars rugby player
Promise (Max) Chukwudum has been missing since Nov. 17. Chukwudum is a student at the University of Regina, and was last seen in the area of Marshall Crescent, which is in Regina's Normanview area. Facebook

Friends of Promise Chukwudum describe him as a talented athlete and an avid social media user who always kept in touch with his peers, making his disappearance since last Saturday very concerning.

Police describe him as 5' 11" tall, weighing 240 pounds with short brown hair. He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, light sweatpants, and a dark toque.

Chukwudum, known to his friends as Max, is a 19-year-old computer science student at the University Regina. He also plays rugby for the U of R Cougars’ men’s team. According to the Regina Police Service (RPS), he was last seen near Marshall Crescent, in Regina’s Normanview area, in the early morning hours of Nov. 17. He has not been seen since or had contact with family or friends.

Chukwudum is a black male, approximately 5-foot-11 and 240 pounds with a medium build and short brown hair. He was last seen wearing a dark hooded sweater, light coloured sweatpants and a dark toque.

As part of police efforts to locate Chukwudum, uniformed officers and members of Search and Rescue Regina (SARR) began conducting a sweep of the neighbourhoods surrounding Marshall Crescent earlier this week and later expanded further west, to the area of 3rd Avenue and Arthur Street in the Rosemont/Transcona neighbourhood.

A spokesperson with the RPS said SARR is used to assist police when there is a need to physically search an area for someone.

Promise (Max) Chukwudum was last seen in the early morning of November 17 and hasn't contacted friends or family since, according to police. 

Those search efforts continued Friday in that area and also took officers to the city’s landfill — to no avail. According to RPS, investigators felt the need to consider the landfill as a possible search area, and had do it while the opportunity was present.

Investigators had the city cordon off the area in the landfill of freshly deposited materials and looked for signs of Chukwudum, to no avail.

Police were searching an area of the landfill where garbage trucks had just deposited contents from recent pickups in the neighbourhood where Chukwudum was last seen.

Regina police and Search and Rescue members scour the neighbourhood near Arthur Street and 3rd Avenue for a missing person. BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post

The spokesperson said police still do not know what happened to Chukwudum, but the case continues to be treated as a missing person case.

Chukwudum is known to be very active on the social medium platform Snapchat, and friends have said it’s been unusual not to see any updates from him.

“If everyone has that one friend who is constantly on social media, Max is ours,” said Nathan Sgrazzutti, who plays with Chukwudum on the U of R’s rugby team.

Police have asked people living in the area to check their yards, fences and shrubbery to make sure nothing looks out of place.

Sgrazzutti said Chukwudum’s posts on Snapchat indicated he was at O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub last Friday night, Nov. 16. The last post Sgrazzutti saw on Snapchat was at 12:33 a.m. Saturday. After that, Sgrazzutti isn’t sure where Chukwudum went next. One thing in Chukwudum’s posts that stood out to Sgrazzutti was that he didn’t recognize the people with whom he was hanging out.

“It looked like some of the people he was with weren’t his normal crowd,” said Sgrazzutti.

Sgrazzutti said he planned to visit the pub and view its security footage to see if he could identify anyone Chukwudum had interacted with at the pub. He said Chukwudum made friends easily, and it wouldn’t be unusual for him to meet new people at a bar.

Police said this behaviour is unusual for Chukwudum, which is why there is concern about his well-being.

Monica Tataquason, another friend of Chukwudum, said she offered him a ride home when she saw his posts that night on Snapchat. Chukwudum said he was fine, but hasn’t responded to any of her messages since then.

“It’s very odd because we talk every day, and he would just reply to anything. It doesn’t matter what kind of text it was,” said Tataquason.

Chukwudum was introduced to rugby when he joined the team last fall, and quickly became a skilled player. He plays the position of flanker, which Sgrazzutti said is similar to a running back in football.

“When we all got to know him he started out as a pretty quiet guy, but once he’s comfortable with you he’s warm, kind-hearted open and honest with you, tells you what he thinks and he tells you right away,” said Sgrazzutti.

Sgrazzutti said Chukwudum is originally from Nigeria, and Sgrazzutti does not believe he has family in Regina.

Anyone with information on Chukwudum’s whereabouts can contact the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500. Police are asking all residents in the areas being searched to take a few minutes to check their yards, outbuildings, fences and shrubbery to ensure that nothing has been disturbed or looks out of place.

Promise (Max) Chukwudum was last seen on Saturday, November 17 in the area of Marshall Crescent. Police and Search and Rescue Regina have been sweeping the Normanview area in an effort to find him.

The search has now been expanded to include the area of Third Avenue and Arthur Street in the Rosemont/Transcona neighbourhood and to the city landfill.

The Regina Police Service said it has wrapped a search in one area of the landfill. In a news release, police said investigators determined a garbage pickup had occurred shortly after Chukwudums disappearance. City officials were able to cordon off the area at the landfill to allow investigators to search that area.

Police say they are still investigating this as a missing persons case and are continuing to search for Chukwudum.

Residents can expect to see uniformed officers searching from house to house and in some cases in backyards. Search and Rescue Regina members can be identified with orange vests with neon green on the sleeve. They also carry identification.

Chukwudum is described as 511, weighing 240 pounds, with short brown hair. He was last seen wearing a dark, hooded sweatshirt, light coloured sweatpants, and a dark coloured toque.

Anyone with information about Chukwudums whereabouts is asked to call Regina police at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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