CINCINNATI -- Twenty-one-year-old National Guardsman Jordan Middlebrooks left his car in the parking lot of a Covington Taco Bell on Thursday night before heading to a Thanksgiving celebration in Northside.
By Monday evening, a dusting of snow had settled over the vehicle. Its owner had not returned.
"It's been very difficult not knowing (where he is)," aunt Nicole Moyer said. "Both of his parents are very concerned."
So was everyone else, she added. Moyer, who lives in Columbus, drove to Cincinnati so she could help Middlebrooks' friends look for him while his parents tried to make their way to Ohio. A search party of about 30 continued to scour Cincinnati and pin up missing persons posters as the sun set Monday.
"We're hoping for the best," friend Naj Jabari said. "My hope is that we find him safe and sound, no matter where he is. … I know everyone's just wanting to give him a big ol' hug."
Jabari met Middlebrooks eight months ago at Mixwell's, where they frequently spend their Thursday nights dancing. Both she and Moyer described him as a shy, gentle young man with a talent for making others feel seen and cared for. He seldom arrived at Mixwell's without his camera, Jabari added.
He spent Thanksgiving at the bar, too, she said, and spent the night at a friend's apartment building in College Hill.
No one had seen him in person since then; a security camera recording of him leaving the building on foot Friday morning contains the last known images of the guardsman.
"Jordan is very loved," Moyer said. "We miss him dearly and are very concerned, the entire family. If anyone has any information, we would appreciate them contacting the local police department."
According to members of the search party, Middlebrooks is a slender young man standing 5-feet-9-inches and weighing 120 pounds. He was last spotted dressed in black and wearing glasses.