By Adam Baker/Editor
Classes began yesterday without Molly Dattilo. The 23-year-old Eastern student and track/cross country athlete has been missing since July 6. Dattilo disappeared from Indianapolis where she was taking summer classes and staying with her brother.
Dattilo remains registered for the fall, according to Eastern’s Division of Public Relations and Marketing. Eastern’s head track/cross country coach, Rick Erdmann said Dattilo ran for three years on the team until her eligibility ran up last year. Dattilo, Erdmann said, needed another semester of classes at Eastern to graduate.
Next Tuesday will mean Dattilo has been missing for nine weeks.
“The longer it goes the scarier it is,” Erdmann said. “Most of the girls on the women’s cross country team … are very concerned about Molly. They have expressed that to me and a number of people.”
Erdmann added detectives investigating the case have contacted him and members of the track/cross country team. Dattilo’s sister, Celestra Dattilo Hoffman, said on Tuesday, the last thing Dattilo did before she disappeared was pick up a job application from Wendy’s.
“That day, we know all she had was her keys to her apartment and the clothes she was wearing,” Hoffman said. “She left behind her car, her ID and her money card. We do know she still has a substantial amount of money in her account, and it has not been accessed since she disappeared.”
Hoffman added Dattilo left her cell phone behind as well.
“If anyone knows Molly, she has to be on the phone all the time,” she said. “That’s why we’re really concerned no one has heard from her.”
Hoffman said she is also worried about her sister because of her great love for people. “She never meets a stranger,” she said. “She will talk to anyone … it doesn’t matter who you are.”
Dattilo also had receipts of things she had bought the day she went missing that were still in her car, Hoffman said.
“The point is everything that she did that day points to the conclusion that she was planning on sticking around,” she said. “That’s why we know there was some type of foul play involved.”
However, Huffman added investigators are not yet considering foul play because a lack of sufficient evidence.
Hoffman explained her and other family members have organized three searches so far. The initial search, she said, focused on a two-mile radius from where Dattilo was last seen.
The second search concentrated on Indianapolis-area interstates.
The most recent search, Hoffman said, was an “awareness walk” through the community to spread the word about Molly.
“I have talked to people who have been missing family members for 20 or 30 years and we just don’t want that to happen,” she said. “We just want to find out what happened to her. We realize it may be good or bad news.”
Hoffman said Eastern students could help spread the word by logging onto the family’s Web site at www.dattilofamily.org.
“They can … print out a flyer and post them if they’re going on a little trip, or if their family lives far away, send them some flyers and get them to stick them around the area where they live because we have no idea where she is,” she said. “Any way they can make people aware that Molly is missing and that we’re trying to find her would be great.”
Hoffman said unless someone has been through something like this before, it would be hard for people to understand “what a horrible nightmare it is.”
“The thing about a situation like this is that you really can’t mourn,” she said. “You can’t do anything – you’ve got to keep on going thinking that Molly may be out there.”
Reach Adam at