University searches for missing student

A video showing Eleno Valle leaving the Casa Residence hall at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 6 was the last time Eleno was reported seen. 

Update Monday 4:23 p.m.: The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the body found Monday morning in Lady Bird Lake as Eleno Valle, who was reported missing Feb. 7. 

Update Feb. 17 2:20 p.m.: Austin Police Department received a call at 8:42 a.m. on Monday reporting a body found in Lady Bird Lake. They are investigating it as a suicide, according to the Austin American-Statesman. 

The university spokeswoman, Mischelle Diaz, confirmed that the St. Edward’s University police department was on the scene as part of the “ongoing search and investigation” relating to the disappearance of Valle. 

Update from Feb. 10: There is still no word on missing St. Edward’s University student Eleno Valle, who hasn’t been seen since the night of Feb. 6.

In the latest news release from the university, there have been no reported leads. The University Police Department has said they will continue their search, working alongside the Austin Police Department. Anyone with information on this case is still urged to call St. Edwards’ University Police at 512-448-8444.

An anonymous tip line has also been set up. Those wishing to leave an anonymous tip that could assist in locating Valle are encouraged to call 512-448-8477.

Valle is a sophomore accounting major and a College Assistance Migrant Program student. He lives on campus with Nathan Jebe in the Basil Moreau Casas. They have only known each other since they became roommates at the beginning of this school year.

“If you didn’t know him, he really wouldn’t talk, but he is always friendly and amicable,” Jebe said. 

His roommate also said that he had never seen Valle involved with drugs or alcohol. 

Before Jebe headed to class on the evening of Feb. 6, he said Valle told him he was going for a walk. 

A video released Monday by UPD shows Valle leaving the Casa Residence Hall at 6:15 p.m. 

When Valle did not return that night, Jebe was not sure if he should be concerned. Jebe said that Valle always returned to sleep in his bed on weekdays, but school was canceled the next day and Jebe thought that Valle might be out with friends. 

Jebe became more seriously worried when Valle’s sister, St. Edward’s freshman student Elizabeth Valle, approached him the next day at around 1:30 p.m. to ask if he had seen her brother. 

Elizabeth had been sent by her parents who were concerned when Valle did not answer their calls that morning. 

Valle’s family lives in Elgin and his parents routinely check in with Valle and his sister every Friday to see if they are coming home for the weekend, which they often do. 

Following her discussion with her brother’s roommate, Elizabeth contacted her parents who immediately came to campus to start searching and to contact UPD. 

His family has never known Eleno Valle to be out of contact like this. They have been checking his Facebook as well as his debit card and cell phone activity online but have yet to find anything. 

“He is a good son and a good brother,” his father, also named Eleno Valle said. Valle is the oldest brother in an eight-member family. 

Knowing Valle to always be with his computer, his family is puzzled as to why he would leave both his laptop and phone charger behind. 

They fear he has stopped taking the medication for depression he has been on for the last year.

Valle’s parents reported him missing to UPD Feb. 7 at 4:30 p.m. He was last seen the night before, Feb. 6 at around 4:45 p.m. by his roommate and at 6:15 p.m. by the Casa security camera. 

Starting Friday and continuing into the weekend, UPD conducted door-to-door searches of all residence halls on campus. UPD also worked with APD to complete multiple searches of the wooded area west of campus— between the on-campus apartments and I-35.

At 9:23 a.m. the morning of Feb. 7, UPD issued a campus-wide missing student alert for Eleno Valle. The email, signed by Chief of Police Rudolph Rendon, listed Valle as 20 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 117 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Other steps taken by UPD included notifying Texas Crime Information Center, an agency that provides immediate, around-the-clock access to law enforcement agencies for instances including missing persons. 

They have also notified Austin Regional Intelligence Center which works throughout Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties as well as hospitals and police stations throughout the state. 

There are also signs in most of the buildings on campus with pictures of Valle and his personal information. 

“St. Edward’s is a small, tightly knit community, so when any student might be in trouble, it affects the whole community,” Director of Communications Mischelle Diaz said in a statement.

Campus Ministry held a Prayer Vigil at the Brother’s Chapel in St. Joseph Hall on Feb. 10. At the end of the vigil, attended by about 100 people, Dean of Students Lisa Kirkpatrick reminded students of the support available on campus, including Campus Ministry and the Counseling Center in Johnson Hall. 

Hilltop Views will continue to follow this story as it develops. 

Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahThornby