Geneva College

 

 

Campus Communications

Thursday, May 5, 2011, 2:47 p.m.

As a community, we have all experienced months of concern, sadness, and bewilderment regarding the disappearance of Devon Minor. I am sorry to tell you that Devon is dead. Chief Charles Jones of the Beaver Falls Police Department announced at a news conference at Geneva today that a body found in the Beaver River this morning has been positively identified as Devon Minor.

We are deeply saddened by Devon's passing. This is a painful time for Devon's family, friends, our community, and so many others. It is a time to recall the words of Christ Jesus: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." As we mourn the loss of Devon, we pray for a comfort and peace that only the Lord can provide.

This is obviously not the outcome for which we hoped and prayed, and we still don't know the details of what happened. If more information is discovered, we will communicate what we can while protecting the dignity of the family and the investigation of the Beaver Falls Police.

We owe a tremendous amount of thanks to the people who worked tirelessly on this investigation. This includes our own Geneva security as well as local, county, state, and federal officials. While many investigators were involved, I would like to mention three people in particular: Beaver Falls Police Chief Mick Jones, Beaver Falls Fire Chief Mark Stowe, and Geneva Director of Security Dennis Damazo.

I have been impressed by the response of our community as we faced Devon's disappearance. From the red wrist bands and red ribbons providing a constant bond and reminder of Devon, to the prayers offered from one end of campus to the other, donations to help his family as they traveled to and from their home near Philadelphia, and the messages and prayers shared on Facebook and our website, it was clear that everyone drew together.

Now, just as our community came together in response to Devon's disappearance, I ask that everyone draw together as we mourn the loss of this young student.

May the Lord provide comfort.

In His grace,

President Ken Smith


Monday, April 21, 2011, 2:58 p.m.

After an extensive search of the riverfront and hillside along the Beaver River north of our campus to just south of Beaver Falls today, the police have found nothing that has helped them in their investigation of missing student Devon Minor. He was last seen 13 weeks ago, but we seem to be no closer to understanding what has happened to him.

Today’s effort was large and labor intensive. Almost 30 officers from the Beaver Falls Police Department, Fire Department and county and state agencies participated in the search. They flew in helicopters, walked on the riverbank and used all-terrain vehicles to look for any clue. They worked steadfastly, and yet found no trace of Devon.

As Mike Loomis reminded us at a press conference following the search, at Geneva we’re a people of hope – and we have hope that Devon is still alive and will return home. That will certainly continue to be my hope and prayer.

Chief “Mick” Charles Jones and his officers in the police department, Chief Mark Stowe and his officers in the fire department, and the county and state officers who joined them were tremendous. Our own Director of Security Dennis Damazo put sleepless nights and a lot of heart into finding Devon. Pioneer  staff kept the dining hall open longer today to serve the search workers. Judy Boggs, Karen Mlynarski, Shari Vetica and Dave Rhodes went above and beyond to help accommodate the press conference in the Student Center  today. Becky and Sarah Phillips came to campus to stay with Devon’s Aunt Gail so that she would not be alone.  So many other people helped and I need to say we have a wonderful and deeply caring community. It makes difficult times like this easier to get through. 

We are not in control but our Lord is and He is with us. Before I left my house today I was reading the first chapter of Joshua. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

For that knowledge and that promise, I am most grateful.

I will continue to hope and pray for Devon and his family.

Blessings,

Cheryl Johnston
Director of Marketing Services and Public Relations


Thursday, April 21, 2011, 9:58 a.m.

This is a message from Provost Ken Carson

Devon Minor’s disappearance remains a complete mystery. Because the original search of the surrounding property occurred in winter with snow on the ground, the Beaver Falls Police have decided it might prove beneficial to conduct another  search now that the snow has gone. They are going to hold another physical search, including a helicopter from above and officers on the ground, today. The search area will include the land around campus on both sides of the Beaver River a bit north of Geneva College to south of Beaver Falls. More than three dozen officials will be part of this effort.

Please take note of the following:

  • This search is not the result of new clues. Rather, it is the result of the lack of any new clues, and the desire to be as thorough as possible.
  • This is a law enforcement operation. While we understand the desire of folks on campus to help, the best assistance comes from staying out of the way of professionals who are doing the jobs that they are trained to do.

As always, if you have any information about this case, please contact the Beaver Falls Police Department at 724-846-7000, Geneva College Security at 724-846-9632 or Geneva’s anonymous tip-line at 724-847-5555.

Please pray that God would bring this matter to a conclusion. My own prayer is this: I pray that Devon is alive and well, and that he would be in touch with his family very soon. However, if Devon has passed away and his body is in the area, please let the searchers find the body, and keep them safe during this operation. 

Sincerely,

Ken Carson
Provost


Friday, February 25, 2011

To the Campus Community:

Dear students, faculty and staff,

It has now been five weeks since the disappearance of Devon Minor from our campus community. For many this has been a long, hard, and confusing journey. As you know, the leadership of Geneva College has supported the local authorities as they have investigated the whereabouts of Devon. We are deeply grateful to have been served by our own security officers, the local and state police, the District Attorney’s office and the FBI. We want to assure you that their investigation has been thorough, tireless and diligent. All leads have been followed or continue to be pursued. At this time the official investigation remains open.

There remains no hard evidence that there was any sort of foul play in the situation or that Devon has harmed himself. All that is known is that Devon is not here and we do not know where he is.

If Devon returned tomorrow – and that is what we hope and pray for – he would not be able to complete the spring semester at Geneva. He has simply missed too many classes. For that reason, Devon’s family has moved Devon’s belongings out of his room in Pearce Hall, back to his home near Philadelphia. The removal of Devon’s belongings in no way indicates that there is a loss of hope, but simply a withdraw from this semester. 

This leaves us with the question: What now?

Having worked at a large state university for years I (Keith) have had the opportunity to witness a pluralistic campus struggle with the loss of students, violence and national tragedy. In that place, during those situations, the community remained distraught and directionless.

But we have a mighty hope. Our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ, his life, death, and resurrection. Our hope is in the King of a Kingdom. Our hope is that Christ’s Kingdom, which is now marred with sin, will one day have full restoration.

It is especially difficult to consider how to respond in this unresolved situation. The reality of the situation is that Devon’s disappearance might remain unsolved. As we move ahead, we would like to suggest the following:

  1. Continue to pray. Pray diligently for Devon and for his safety. Petition God, asking him to return Devon to us and to his family. Pray for Devon’s family and home community—for comfort and peace.
  2. If you have any information regarding Devon, even if it seems inconsequential, please report it to Dennis Damazo or the hotline (724-847-5555).
  3. If you are struggling with Devon’s disappearance or if this is causing other hurts in your own life to emerge, please do not hesitate to seek counsel. There are various resources available for you. Contact the Counseling Center or seek out faculty and staff who are willing to process the emotions brought forth in this time of pain.
  4. We beg of you, please do not engage in speculation. Seasoned professionals tending to this case do not know where Devon is.  Please refrain from conversations that may lead to rumors about Devon’s disappearance.
  5. While we should not forget Devon or his family, we need to continue with our daily lives. God calls us to faithfulness in all areas of life during times of great joy as well as times of sorrow.

 

Perhaps most importantly, now is a time when we need to be diligent in recalling the promises of our Lord. Paul’s encouragement in Romans has been particularly helpful for us in these days. He writes:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV).

We pray that God’s tender mercies will envelop our community as we move ahead.

Your Servants in Christ,

Dean R. Smith
Chair Department of Biblical Studies
Chapel Coordinator

Keith R. Martel
Center for Faith and Practice, Director


Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear Geneva community,

Many of you have seen news reports that a body was found in the Ohio River in West Virginia on Wednesday evening.

Early reports speculated (reasonably) that this body might be Devon Minor or the other individual who has been missing from Beaver County.

However, it now is being reported that the body that was found is not of either of these missing persons.

Please continue to be in prayer that God would be gracious in this on-going and very difficult situation, and pray particularly for Devon's family.

Thank you.

Ken Carson
Provost and Professor of Psychology


Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 11:14 a.m.

The following announcement was made in chapel today. I wanted to be sure that everyone on campus has a chance to see it and respond.

****

Good morning. My name is Ken Carson. I want to talk briefly about the Devon Minor situation.

As we have said on numerous occasions, we are deeply saddened by these events, and we are worried for Devon and his family. On behalf of the College, please accept my sincere gratitude for the many expressions of concerns, offers to help, and promises to pray for this situation.  Devon’s family is also deeply appreciative for your support. I would like to introduce the person that raised Devon as her son, his Aunt Gail Barlow, his Aunt Edith, along with two of Devon's cousins, Amber and Kendall.

Devon’s disappearance remains a mystery. The Beaver Falls Police Department is leading a multi-agency effort to track down every lead. In a moment, I want to introduce several persons who have been, and who continue to be, at work on this investigation. But, first, as they come forward, let me review several facts about the case.

  • Devon disappeared Thursday evening, Jan. 20. 
  • The last persons to report seeing Devon saw him eating by himself in the Brig and then leaving the Brig area at approximately 9:30 or 10 that evening.
  • Earlier that day, Devon spent time with roommates and others watching a movie.
  • No one has reported noticing anything odd or unusual about Devon’s behavior during that day or evening.

An investigation such as this depends on the cooperation of persons coming forward with information. The police have tracked down numerous leads that so far have not revealed Devon’s whereabouts. If you think that you might know something that would be relevant to this case, no matter how small it might be, we ask that you talk to one of the officers standing here. While all information is potentially helpful, the police are particularly interested in talking with anyone who saw, or think that you saw, Devon after he left the Brig area on Thursday evening, Jan. 20. In addition, the police are interested in talking to any person who knows Devon and who may have some insight into Devon’s state of mind that might provide a clue as to his whereabouts.

You can talk with anyone of the officers immediately following the conclusion of this time just by coming forward and introducing yourself to them. In addition, you can get in touch with Dennis Damazo either by e-mail or by phone.

If for some reason you would like to remain anonymous, you can drop an anonymous note addressed to Dennis Damazo in the on-campus mail slot in the mail room. Or, you can leave a message on Geneva’s new anonymous tip line which is 724-847-5555. 

Finally, just before introducing the officers, I want to publically thank them and the agencies that they represent, for the time, attention, and resources that they are devoting to this matter. It is nothing short of overwhelming, and we appreciate it.

The officers in front of you are:

  • From the Beaver Falls Police Department:
    o   Chief Charles Jones
    o   Detective Captain John Deluca
    o   Detective Sergeant Mike Kryder
  • From the Beaver County District Attorney’s office:
    o   Detective Lieutenant Kim Clemens        
  • From the F.B.I.:
    o   Special Agent Tom Carter
  • Finally, Geneva College’s own Director of Security, Dennis Damazo.

Please join me in thanking them for their on-going work.

Ken Carson
Provost and Professor of Psychology


Friday, January 28, 2011, 10:03 a.m.

We continue to be very heavy hearted concerning the Devon Minor situation.  The investigation continues. 

It appears likely that the police will want to continue to interview (and possibly re-interview) certain students, faculty, and staff.  Please extend them every possible cooperation.  If you have concerns about some aspect of this process, please contact Dennis Damazo (724-846-9632) who serves as the College’s liaison with the Beaver Falls Police Department.

The Center for Faith and Practice staff are planning a large prayer gathering for later today.  Stay tuned for information from that office.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer and concern.

Ken Carson
Provost and Professor of Psychology


Thursday, January 27, 2011, 4:22 p.m.

The reality of Devon Minor’s disappearance continues to weigh heavily on each of us – and even more so with every passing day. You might have heard on the news that the search for Devon is over. Please know that this is nowhere near the truth. The investigation into Devon’s disappearance is active and ongoing. When the physical grid search along the nearby property, riverbanks and hillsides was complete, there were erroneous reports that the search for Devon was over. The broad scope of the search continues.

And there continue to be new leads which are being pursued. Every piece of information is being carefully analyzed, and we don’t know what clues may prove to be helpful. Again, if you have any information whatsoever, please give it to either the Beaver Falls Police Department at 724-846-7000 or Geneva College Security, 724-846-9632.

It is important to note that the investigation is being run by the Beaver Falls Police Department.  Even if we were privy to details regarding the case (which we are not), we have been asked not to communicate any information about the case so as not to jeopardize it.  While we will continue to send updates from time to time on the College’s response, these will not be updates on the investigation itself.

The Center for Faith and Practice continues to schedule prayer times for students on campus. Student Development is giving students, faculty and staff red ribbons (red is Devon’s favorite color) to wear in support and concern for Devon.  They are now available on the desk in Skye Lounge and will be distributed at Alex’s tomorrow. As I mentioned earlier, you can click on the “Prayers for Devon” link on the home page of the Website to read or submit your own message or prayer.

The Geneva community has generously donated over $1,200 to help pay for the expenses of Devons’ family while they’re staying here in Beaver Falls. Donations are still being accepted by the Business Office for this purpose.

The Lord is sovereign and in control. While there is so much we don’t understand, we do know we can trust Him. It’s to Him that we turn.

“ Trust in the LORD with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding” 

- Proverbs 3:5 

Ken Carson
Provost and Professor of Psychology


Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 1:28 p.m.

Our hearts continue to be heavy as we still have no solid information about the whereabouts of Devon Minor. But we are greatly encouraged by the activity of the investigation, particularly since the local, county, state and federal officials are involved.

Several of you have provided information or clues that may be helpful. The authorities are now searching Devon’s phone and laptop for clues. We are hopeful that something may lead to our discovering where Devon is.

Again, if you have any information that may lead to a clue, please share it with the Beaver Falls Police at 724-846-7000 or Geneva Security at 724-846-9632. You may be not sure if it is a real lead or not, but the experts can make that decision.  

Small-group and large-group prayers are occurring both spontaneously and in an organized fashion all over campus.  Many people are sharing prayers and thoughts for Devon through the link on this Geneva webpage: http://www.geneva.edu/object/nr_prayers_for_devon_1-11.  People are giving donations through the business office to help defray the costs of Devon’s family’s travel and living expenses at this time.

I am overwhelmed and awed by the prayers and support of this community. I know that Devon’s family is, too.

We continue to hope and pray.

Ken Carson
Provost and Professor of Psychology


Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 3:16 p.m.

Geneva faculty, staff, and students:

The search of the surrounding property, which included a helicopter, has come to an end without result.  Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved and we deeply appreciate their assistance.

Please continue to keep this matter before the Lord.

And please remember that any information at all is potentially helpful .  Do not hesitate to call Geneva Security (724-846-9632) with anything that occurs to you that might be relevant to this situation.

A photo of Devon is below.

This is a link to just one of the several news stories that have been produced.  http://www.wpxi.com/news/26600911/detail.html

Thanks.

 Devon Minor

Ken Carson
Provost and Professor of Psychology


Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 11:24 a.m.

Geneva faculty, staff, and students:

On behalf of Devon’s family and the College, thank you so much for the many, many expressions of concern and offers to help in connection to the disappearance of Devon Minor.  We ask that you continue to pray that God would be merciful in this situation.

This is a quick update on things that are occurring.

1.       The Beaver Falls Police are searching the property contiguous to campus, particularly along the river bank.  In order to facilitate that search, the road beside Pearce and behind Memorial and McKee has been closed.  We know that some of you would like to volunteer to assist in this search.  However, the police have judged that such volunteer assistance would not be helpful, and might even delay the search.  So, we are asking that Geneva folks stay away from this area.

2.       The local media have been very helpful in broadcasting the news.  They will likely continue to have periodic presence on campus.

3.       The College has started a fund to assist Devon’s family with their expenses.  Four family members have come from the Philadelphia area.  If you would like to make a donation, you may give checks or cash to Geneva’s Business Office.  Checks should be made out to “Geneva College” with ‘Devon Minor Fund’ on the memo line.

We do not have any reason to think that harm has come to Devon other than the fact that he has disappeared.  We ask that you refrain from speculation.  We continue to hope and pray that Devon is safe and will return to family and friends soon.

Finally, if you become aware of any potentially relevant information, please call Dennis Damazo, Geneva’s Director of Security, at 724-846-9632.

Ken Carson
Provost and Professor of Psychology


Monday, January 24, 2011. 2:32 p.m.

To the Geneva Community,

I have often heard that one of Geneva’s strengths is the community and its caring people.  So consider this email under that sort of category. 

On Saturday we were informed that one of our students, Devon Minor (freshman engineering major from Clifton Heights, PA and resident of Pearce Hall) has not been seen since last Wednesday evening/early Thursday morning.  Devon’s roommates became concerned and reported this to the College and we have been working with Devon’s family and local authorities in an attempt to track him down.  So far, we have had no success in this task.

At this time, Devon’s family and we would ask that you do one of the following: (1) If you know where Devon is, see Devon, or have seen Devon over the weekend, please contact Dennis Damazo in the Geneva Security office (724-846-9632), (2) If you hear from Devon, please ask him to contact his family and Geneva Security, (3) Pray for Devon and his family and his safe return to campus.

Finally, please keep in mind that it is quite possible that Devon is safe and wants to be left alone.  He is under no legal obligation to stay in school or to report his whereabouts to us.  So, we have to be careful to maintain his privacy when we learn of his situation.

Thank you for your time attention to this important matter.

Mike Loomis
Dean of Student Development


 

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