Something was terribly wrong
When Abel couldn't be located later that day, family and friends thought something was terribly wrong. It simply wasn't like him to wander off without leaving word. They described Abel as funny, likable, trustworthy. He was also smart and responsible, attending Iowa State on an academic, four-year, tuition scholarship.
Friends from the party initially told officials Bolanos left the 208 S. Hyland apartment between 4 and 4:30 a.m. Saturday. However, Bolanos' access card was used to attempt access twice before 4 a.m. into the unoccupied Wilson Hall, which is located west of his dorm building, Wallace Hall.
The two attempts to access Wilson Hall occurred at 3:22:57 a.m. and 3:23:12 a.m. Saturday.
"[Bolanos] had access to Wallace, but not Wilson," said Mona Wilson, clerk in facilities planning and management. "He used it on Wilson Hall those two times, but he didn't try it at all at Wallace." A card belonging to a different student, whose name was not released, was also used at Wilson Hall shortly after Bolanos. This attempt was made at 3:26:34 a.m. Saturday. According to activity records on the access pad outside the door of Wilson Hall, this was the only other attempt beside Bolanos' that was made after 3 a.m., Wilson said. None of the attempts resulted in successful entry.
Records of activity on the access pad outside Wallace Hall indicated plenty of activity after 3 a.m. Saturday, which suggests people were around. "There were several [entries] around that time," Wilson said. Gene Deisinger, commander for ISU Police, also confirmed that Bolanos' access card was found with the body. Police are investigating the time discrepancies and have ruled out any confusion of delayed time stamps because of the change in daylight-saving time that occurred March 12. "[We are] pretty confident that the time stamp is 3:23 [and] that is the correct time," Deisinger said. Bolanos' room showed no signs of entry; however, everything is still being held in place until the investigation ends. Bolanos' room was searched Sunday after Bolanos was reported missing. "We found nothing that caused us any concern," Deisinger said.
Friday, March 30
11 p.m. Bolanos got off work at Red Lobster
Saturday, March 31
12:30 a.m. -Bolanos drove and parked on Lincoln Way, and walked to the party on Hyland
3:23 a.m. - Bolanos used access card to attempt entry into Wilson Hall
About 4:30 a.m. - Bolanos was spotted in Campustown by at least one person who gave a very good description of him
Shortly after 4:30 a.m. - It is believed Bolanos accidentally drowned
5:15 p.m. - The annual Polar Bear Plunge takes place in Lake LaVerne.
Sunday, April 1
11:53 a.m. - Officials were notified that Bolanos was missing
12:12 p.m. - Bolanos' car was found on Lincoln Way; the Ames Police and the Story County Sheriff became involved.
11 p.m. - The Iowa State Patrol put up an aircraft with heat-seeking capabilities and searched farmlands near Towers
Monday, April 2
10:30 a.m. - A person turned in Bolanos' credit cards were turned into Ames bank. The person was not identified as a suspect.
A formal request was put out during the afternoon for an organized search group.
Volunteers started a door-to-door canvas in Ames.
Tuesday, April 3
Search of Lake LaVerne begins
3:39 p.m. - An unidentified body matching the description of Abel Bolanos was removed from Lake LaVerne
4:45 p.m. - Officials blocked off area around Lincoln Way
6:05 p.m. The body was positively identified as Abel M. Bolanos
Wednesday, April 4
8 p.m. A candlelight vigil was held on Central Campus in memory of Abel M. Bolanos.
Search and Recovery
On April 3, law officers, rescue teams and volunteers had been engaged in an exhaustive search for Bolanos. (Search participants included: ISU Police, Ames Police, Ames Fire, Boone Co. Search and Rescue, the Iowa State Patrol, Civil Air Patrol, the STAR 1 Search and Rescue team and numerous volunteers.) During the search, groups of Iowa State University students fanned out and began looking around campus buildings and residential areas. They also went door to door asking residents whether they had seen Abel.
Shortly after 3:30 PM on Tuesday April 3 divers discovered Abel's body in the southeast corner of Lake LaVerne in 4 feet of water. There were no obvious signs of foul play. A preliminary autopsy performed April 4 by Dr. Dennis Klein, Assistant State Medical Examiner, indicated that Abel died of accidental drowning. An investigation is underway, and police will be looking at how Abel ended up in the water.
Another tragic story
This is the second case of a missing Iowa college student this school year. Last fall, Grinnell college student Paul Shuman-Moore disappeared. Police and volunteers launched a massive search but he has not been found. Shuman-Moore also was from the Chicago area. Sadly, it ws later determined that Shuman-Moore had committed suicide.
Facts of Interest
Name/age: Abel Bolanos, 19 (from Rolling Meadows, IL)
College: Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Physical Description: 5'7," 165 pounds, brown hair, words "Ancora Imparo" tattooed on upper right arm.
Last seen: 03/31/07, 4 a.m., leaving a party at 208 South Hyland Street en route to his residence hall (Wallace Hall)
Cause of death (preliminary): apparent drowning
Manner of death (preliminary): apparent accident