Reporting Michael Rosenfield
PORTSMOUTH, NH (CBS) – It started with a phone call.
“They said it’s UNH Police, your son has disappeared,” remembers Lynne Zygmont. “I almost fainted on the spot.” Since then, nine days and no clues.
The parents of Jonathan Zygmont are left wondering what happened to their son. “We’re terrified,” said Mrs. Zygmont in the family’s first interview since he vanished. “We can’t understand why we haven’t heard from him.”
The 19-year-old freshman from Windham had just started college at the University of New Hampshire in Durham a few weeks earlier. “He seemed very happy to be at UNH, he was studying wildlife biology,” said his mother.
Police have said they do not think foul play is involved. Jonathan’s girlfriend says he was emotional and conflicted about the future when they last spoke near Prescott Park in Portsmouth. She was the last to see him. “He seemed kind of lost and wasn’t sure what he really wanted,” said Sarah Cauthen.
Jonathan is described as a “quiet presence” and an avid outdoorsman. He was last seen wearing a brown sweatshirt with the word “Burton” on it in red lettering. He was also wearing khaki pants and black shoes, and was carrying a black North Face backpack. He is 5 feet 11 inches and about 150 pounds.
He was highly skilled at hiking and camping and he had expressed interest in moving and living a simpler life, but his family says he is the last person to take off without saying goodbye.
“Some friends suggested he’d gone south to warmer climates perhaps working on an organic farm some place then hitting the Appalachian Trail,” said his father David Zygmont. “We’re respectful of Jon’s journey if that’s what this is.”
Police have suspended any active search for Jonathan at this point and have sent his photo to police agencies nationwide. His family has sent out fliers to national parks.
Tips can be called in to 603-862-1427.
His family says there has been no activity on his cell phone, credit cards or bank account.
“We just want to know he’s OK,” said his mother.