Update: Police execute search warrants

WEDNESDAY, 10:10 p.m. – At a press conference held this evening at the College, Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. said that his office had executed six search warrants in hopes of finding evidence related to the disappearance of College freshman John Fiocco Jr.

At press time, the entirety of Wolfe Hall was evacuated indefinitely and Travers Hall was in the process of being evacuated indefinitely as well. Police and search dogs were sweeping the evacuated buildings.

Earlier today, police interviewed Wolfe Hall residents and canvassed the building.

At the press conference tonight, Bocchini also said there is still no confirmation of human blood in the area behind Wolfe Hall, where State and Campus police have been searching since Tuesday. Law enforcement officials would not disclose information on the last cell phone communication with Fiocco or whether his bank accounts or credit card had been accessed.

New Jersey State Commanding Officer of Investigations Maj. James Fallon said that the Fiocco family has been very cooperative throughout the search process. Fiocco does not have a history of running away from or losing contact with family.

An e-mail sent out by the office of Public Affairs said that investigators believe this to be an isolated incident.

As of this morning, the New Jersey State Police Major Crimes Unit has taken charge of releasing all information in regard to the missing persons case.

Sgt. Stephen Jones said that the transfer of media control from the College to the State Police was based solely on organization size and experience.

“The State police are better equipped to handle a large investigation such as this,” Jones said.

A campus-wide e-mail from College President R. Barbara Gitenstein cited the change as “upsetting news that will, undoubtedly, raise the level of concern we all share.”

Campus and State police continue to work together in the missing persons investigation, in conjunction with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Signal has also obtained details regarding the events of the night of Fiocco’s disappearance.

According to a friend of Fiocco who asked to remain anonymous, Fiocco was last seen by a Wolfe 4 resident sleeping alone in another resident’s room at about 3 a.m. Saturday.

According to the source, the resident returned to her room around 11 a.m. Saturday and Fiocco was gone.

Fiocco attended an off-campus party Friday night. “We can confirm that he was out on Friday evening,” Bocchini said at a press conference Tuesday night. “As most of the campus was.”

Fiocco returned to Wolfe Hall intoxicated, but unharmed, according to the source, who met up with Fiocco after he returned from the party.

The source described Fiocco as always being “really nice to everyone” and “the funniest kid on the floor.”

He said Fiocco seemed to be having a good time on the night of the incident.

“He didn’t seem depressed at all,” the source said.

Many members of the campus community are volunteering their time to help the College deal with the situation.

According to Gitenstein, a group of College staff members has volunteered to escort students who might feel unsafe when walking alone on campus.

Campus Police officers usually provide this service, but due to their involvement in the investigation, the College enlisted additional help.

In the e-mail, Gitenstein also warned students “about the dangers and potential ramifications of jumping to conclusions,” and said “making reckless assumptions will only exacerbate the stress, sadness and fear that have gripped our campus.”

In response to speculation about the case in local media outlets, Jones said “There have been a number of papers that have printed things that I cannot verify . That’s not information that we have or that we have released.”

— Kari Post and Robert Taubenslag contributed to this report