19-Year-old Ivy League Student Who Was Missing Found Safe: ‘She Just Wanted to Get Away From It All’



The 19-year-old Columbia University student who went missing for more than a week has been found. Atlanta Black Star reports that Nayla Kidd was last seen leaving a dorm on May 5 and missed all of her finals later that day. The engineering major deactivated her Facebook page, closed her bank account and changed her cell phone number. Her mother, LaCreis Kidd, flew in from Kentucky to help search for her daughter.

LaCreis Kidd told New York’s PIX11 her daughter is “someone who’s just so bright, so creative, just talented beyond measure — at the age of 15 she built a super computer, she’s published in scientific journals — for her to just drop the ball, I just feel something happened.”

The student’s friend, Alesha Wood, was surprised because “this is not like Nayla – she loves to go to school,” Wood told The Washington Post.

After news broke of her disappearance, Columbia issued a statement about working with authorities to locate the Louisville, Kentucky native.

“Our community is deeply concerned whenever a student is missing. The University is in contact with Nayla Kidd’s family and is cooperating with the New York Police Department.”

But on the night of May 16, police said Kidd was found safe and sound. James McShane, the school’s vice president for public safety, emailed a notice to faculty and staff announcing the student’s return.

Lisa Cohen, an adjunct professor at Columbia, shared the news on her Twitter page.

A police source tells New York Daily News that the sophomore, who was awarded a full scholarship to the School of Engineering and Applied Science, wanted a break from her studies.

“Basically, she just wanted to get away from it all,” the source said. “She rented a place in Brooklyn. She didn’t want to be at school anymore.”

After moving out of her apartment on Broadway, Kidd reopened her bank account using her new East Williamsburg address. She previously changed her credit card number. Kidd and her mother reunited Monday.

The family – including her cousin Aysha Curtis who handed out flyers  about Kidd’s disappearance – posted a statement on the Facebook page dedicated to locating her cousin.

“Thank you so much for your help and your efforts in spreading awareness on Nayla’s case. Nayla has been found and she is safe and sound with family. We all know that many of you have questions about Nayla’s disappearance but we ask that everyone to please respect Nayla and her family’s privacy. Thank you again.”

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