Minor's family members were immediately concerned. The young man was described as responsible, having never missed school or work for so long before. And while he had gone off for short periods of time--hours, and once for a full day--he had never been gone for long. Adding to the alarm was that Minor's keys, wallet, iPod, laptop, phone, and his winter coat were left behind in his dorm room.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, earlier that day, Minor, "spent part of the day...in his Pearce Hall dorm room watching DVDs with his roommates as a fierce snowstorm swept through Beaver Falls." Where he would be headed without a winter coat, or why, was unknown.
Friends and family said that Minor was a good kid who kept to himself. He was a devout member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Germantown with his family, and sung in the church choir. Minor, a native of Clifton Heights, Pa., near Philadelphia, was raised by his aunt after his mother died when he was a toddler. He graduated in 2010 from La Salle College High School in Montgomery County. While he was described as being quiet and a bit of a loner, it was not said to be in a way that would indicate he was depressed. In fact, at least some family members have said that he was not prone to depression (NewsWorks, 5/5/11). His grades were also good, he had no trouble at school or with the law, and there was no evidence of any girlfriend issues.
Police said early on that there was no evidence that Minor was the victim of foul play.
Friends did express concern about a recent Facebook post in which the young man wrote that he was having a problem and no one could help him, but family members were never sure whether the report about the post was true.
On January 25, 2011, his dad, John Macon Jr., told CBS Philadelphia that he hoped his son was just taking a break from everything.
“I just think that he just got a little overwhelmed and I really truly believe he needs time to reflect,” Macon Jr. said. “I really don’t suspect foul play at this point. I don’t want to be naive to the fact that something could happen. This is a crazy world we live in.”
According to recent news reports, Minor had discovered the identity of his father a few weeks prior to his disappearance, but family members didn't think the finding factored into his disappearance. (NewsWorks, 5/5/11).
The Search for Devon Minor
After Devon Minor was reported missing, campus security sent out an e-mail alert to the 1,400 students who attend Geneva College to be on the lookout for the missing student. Dozens of local police and firefighters, state police and the FBI also began searching for Minor. Multiple ground and aerial searches were conducted, including searches of the Beaver River, which runs alongside the campus. Many of the searches were hampered by poor weather.
A large outpouring of support for Devon Minor and his family came from the Geneva College community and from his hometown church. Prayers were left for Minor's family on the Facebook page, "Praying for Devon Minor,” and on the Geneva College website, "Prayers and Message for Devon." A prayer service held on Jan. 27 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia. Donations were also provided to help his family travel to and from their home in Philadelphia.
On Friday, May 6, nearly five months after he was reported missing, police in Pennsylvania recovered the body of Devon Minor in the Beaver River at the Townsend Dam. A worker at the dam was doing routine duties when he spotted Minor's body floating in the water at the dam. The dam is located in the neighboring city of New Brighton, Pa., a neighboring police jurisdiction, and is about 3 miles from campus.
Police were able to confirm Minor's identity using a student identification found in a sweatshirt pocket. Charles R. Jones, Jr., chief of the Beaver Falls Police Department has said that the "autopsy has revealed the manner of death was drowning, but the cause was suicide." (Huffington Post, 5/6/11).
Family members are not convinced. According to NewsWorks, “The family does not believe it’s a suicide,” said Minor’s aunt, Tammy Horton. “We believe it was accidental.” Horton said Minor was a runner and when his body was found, “he had on his track sneakers and his jogging attire." (News Works, 5/5/11). Horton also told NewsWorks that the autopsy was not complete yet, and the suicide ruling was still a theory.
Students at the close-knit college are shocked and saddened by the discovery of Minor's body. In an official statement from the college, President Ken Smith wrote, "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."
"Everybody here is hurting a bit," student Ryan Thompson, 21, told the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review. "It's going to take time to heal."
According to the paper, "Students took time from clearing out their dorms on the last day of the semester to hug each other and pray for Minor. Some were wearing red memorial bracelets and ribbons to honor him."
Name/age: Devon Minor, 18
Last seen: 1/20/11, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA
Physical description: African American male, 6'0" tall, 165 pounds, black hair, brown eyes.
Hometown: Clifton Heights, PA
Investigating Agencies: Beaver Falls Police Department (724-846-7000)
Cobbs, Patrick. (2011, May 5). Search ends for missing student Devon Minor. NewsWorks. Retrieved May 5, 2011 from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4mktQGJHSb4J:www.newsworks.org/index.php/neighborhoods/roxbourough/item/18992-search-ends-for-missing-student-devon-minor+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
Lohr, David. (2011, May 6.) Devon Minor's Body Found In Pennsylvania River. Huffington Post.
Retrieved May 29, 2012 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/05/devon-minor-body-found_n_858321.html
Ramirez, Chris Ramirez. (2011, May 6). Missing Geneva student found dead. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved May 6, 2011 from
Published: 1/26/11 6:22 PM. Updated: 5/9/11, 5/29/12.