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BERKELEY, Calif. -- Police in Houston and Berkeley have teamed up in an effort to solve the disappearance of a Texas college student missing since December, officers said Saturday.
Matthew Wilson, a 21-year-old Rice University junior majoring in computer science, vanished around the time of his final exams on Dec. 14. He was last seen by his roommate in their off-campus apartment in Houston.
The Berkeley police became involved this week after they found Wilson's car. A west Berkeley resident had reported an abandoned, but legally parked car on Allston Way. On Tuesday, police towed Wilson's vehicle, which was identified as a 2004 silver Dodge Neon. No obvious signs of foul play were found inside the car, and some of Wilson's belongings were inside, the police said.
"There is nothing that leads us to believe that a crime had been committed," said Andrew Frankel, a spokesman for the Berkeley Police Department, but he added that the mystery of the abandoned car, and how it got there, was enough to warrant investigation.
Wilson's disappearance drew national media attention. Wilson graduated at the top of his high school class in Haworth, Okla., and was a diligent, straight-A college student, Rice University Police Chief Bill Taylor said. His roommate thought he may have left the apartment to finish a class project, but he never turned it in, Taylor said.
Locating his car raises new questions.
"It leads us to believe Matthew may have made it to the Bay Area, but the car has not been touched in some time so it leaves things up in the air about what happened to Matthew," Taylor said.
A reward totaling $25,000 is being offered by Wilson's family, Rice University and Crime Stoppers of Houston for information that leads to finding Wilson and determining what happened to him.
Wilson, a white male, weighs 135 pounds and is 5 feet 7 inches tall. He has red hair and green eyes. He had a full beard when last seen.
Missing Houston man Matthew Wilson's car was found, apparently abandoned, in Berkeley.