Kenyan runner missing at University of Alaska

Nov. 8, 2011 at 2:04 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A Kenyan track star at the University of Alaska Anchorage disappeared during a snow storm, officials said.

Marko Cheseto was reported missing by his roommates Monday morning, the Anchorage Daily News reported. They said he never came home Sunday night, and campus Police Chief Rick Shell said he was last seen around 7:15 p.m. that evening in the sociology building.

Cheseto's cell phone, car keys and winter coat were either in his apartment or his university locker, Shell said. He said officials are worried that Cheseto was not dressed for the bad weather that hit Sunday.

Steve Cobb, athletic director at the Anchorage campus, described Marko Cheseto Lemtukei -- his legal name -- as an excellent student who planned to return to Kenya after earning a nursing degree. The 28-year-old, one of an elite group of Kenyan runners recruited by the university, had won regional championships and set a course record for the Anchorage Half-Marathon.

Cheseto became depressed earlier this year when William Ritekwiang, 23, another runner at the university from the same village in Kenya took his own life, Cobb said.

Rescue dogs searched the campus Monday. The state police planned to send up a helicopter Tuesday and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and Nordic Ski Patrol were to join the search.

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