Dustin and Mary Klinger of Portland look up in gratitude for support as 500 supporters light candles during an Oct. 10 vigil at the University of Portland. Owen Klinger, a U.P. freshman, has been missing since Oct. 6. (Bob Kerns/University of Portland)
Dustin and Mary Klinger of Portland look up in gratitude for support as 500 supporters light candles during an Oct. 10 vigil at the University of Portland. Owen Klinger, a U.P. freshman, has been missing since Oct. 6. (Bob Kerns/University of Portland)

About 500 students, faculty, staff and supporters filled the Chapel of Christ the Teacher on the University of Portland campus for a candlelight vigil Oct. 10, praying that missing student Owen Klinger will be found safe.

“In this very moment God is with Owen, wherever he is,” said Holy Cross Father Jim Gallagher, campus minister. “A part of our being is not connected with us as he should be, as we desire him to be.”

The 6-foot 1-inch, 165 pound, ponytail-wearing freshman was last seen Oct. 6 wearing a light-blue hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and a drawstring backpack. Pings from his cell phone showed him at a bus stop on the edge of campus that evening. He had left Christie Hall, his dormitory, about an hour before. Klinger’s family home is in Northeast Portland, and he is a graduate of Grant High School.

Family and friends say Owen did not appear emotionally troubled or distressed.

Dustin and Mary Klinger, Owen’s parents, clung to each other or held hands during the vigil, during which the crowd sang the song “You Are Mine,” which includes the line: “I will bring you home.”

As a flame from the Easter candle was passed to tapers being held by everyone in the church, Mary Klinger gazed around and looked grateful for the outpouring of solidarity.

“We’ve really been overwhelmed by the amazing support,” Dustin Klinger said.

Holy Cross Father Mark Poorman embraced the Klingers. “We gather to express our concern and our affection for him,” Father Poorman told the silent crowd. Father Poorman concluded one prayer by beseeching God, “Be near to us.”

The vigil concluded when participants processed with candles to a Marian garden and sang hymns under a bright moon. A breeze snuffed some candles, but other worshippers kept relighting the wicks.

Friends of the Klingers have set up digital ways to collect clues about Owen’s whereabouts. Information can be emailed to findowenk@gmail.com or on a Faceboo page titled Find Owen.

Anyone with helpful information is asked to call the school’s public safety department at 503-943-7161 or the Portland Police Bureau at 503-823-3333.