Hundreds Gather as Search for Missing College Student Resumes

A priest led more than 200 people at a Philadelphia church in prayer Saturday morning before the group resumed their search for 21-year-old Shane Montgomery -- a West Chester University student who went missing while out with friends the night before Thanksgiving.

"We pray that all those who are about to undertake this search have clear eyes and listening ears," the priest said.

Montgomery was last seen Thanksgiving Eve around 1:45 a.m. as he was leaving Kildare's bar along Main Street in the city's Manayunk neighborhood. His parents told NBC10 he was asked to leave the pub after he bumped into the DJ's table. Sources also told NBC10 there was a fight outside the pub.

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Several hundred people volunteered Friday -- the day after Shane's family spent Thanksgiving without their youngest son.

"My heart is broken," said Shane's mother, Karen Montgomery.

"We're waiting for him to walk in the door, but you realize that each hour goes... it's just harder and harder," added Shane's father, Kevin Montgomery.

The ongoing search efforts led the Manayunk Development Corporation to cancel a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and caroling activities. Instead the organization held a candlelight vigil at the Canal View Park, located at Main and Connaroe streets, to call for Shane's safe return. The vigil began at 5 p.m.

The West Chester University senior and Roman Catholic High School alum had spent the night of Thanksgiving Eve -- an evening many friends reunite while home for the holiday -- barhopping with a few friends, Karen said.

She filed a police report after the Roxborough native didn’t return home.

Philadelphia Police do not suspect foul play, although his disappearance is considered suspicious. Authorities have used K-9s, helicopters and marine units to search Manayunk and Roxborough, as well as the Schuylkill River, which borders Main Street.

Family and friends have been unable to reach Shane on his cell phone, which was picked up by a cell phone tower in Lower Merion Township Thursday morning at 2:38 a.m.

The search party, which ballooned Saturday morning, met for the second consecutive day at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Rector Street. Officials split the group into 12 teams, who then fanned out across the northwest Philadelphia neighborhood.

Shane, who weighs about 140 pounds and stands 5-foot-11-inches tall, was wearing a buttoned- down gray shirt, gray hoodie and jeans when he left the bar. He also has a unique Celtic cross tattoo on his shoulder.

A $10,000 reward was being offered for reliable information leading to Shane’s safe return. Montgomery asked that anyone who sees him call her at 215-920-2569. Anyone with information is also urged to contact Philadelphia Police Det. Valentino at 215-686-3353/54.

The church, which is serving as the search party's staging area, held a mass at 6 p.m. for volunteers.

"The church opens their doors," Kevin said while on the verge of tears. "People bringing food. It's overwhelming." 

Marine crews plan on searching the Manayunk Canal around 10 a.m. Sunday.

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