TEMPE, Ariz. — A body was recovered from the Salt River Sunday near the
spot where an Arizona State University student was last seen and there’s a good
chance it is the missing teen, a Tempe police spokesman said.
Two private search groups were looking for Jack Culolias, 19, Sunday
morning when one group spotted a body floating in the river near the spot where
one of the freshman’s shoes was found about two weeks ago, Sgt. Mike Pooley
said. He was last seen Nov. 30 after being kicked out of a Tempe bar during a
fraternity party and was suspected of being drunk.
The body pulled from the water was wearing a single red shoe, leading to
the strong possibility that the body is that of Culolias, said police
spokeswoman Molly Enright in a statement later Sunday.
Pooley said the county medical examiner will have to identify the body, which
had apparently been in the water for an extended period.
The student’s mother was notified of the developments, police said.
Authorities searched the river north of Tempe Marketplace using underwater
cameras and radar equipment looking for Culolias after his disappearance but
came up empty.
State officials confirmed last week they were investigating the bar near ASU
where Culolias was last seen. Arizona Department of Liquor Licensing and Control
officials said the agency is reviewing information from Cadillac Ranch at Tempe
Marketplace over concerns of possible underage drinking.
Culolias used a fake ID to get into Cadillac Ranch to drink when about 200
other people were inside at the time, police said. He also had expressed
concerns to his family about being “scared” about his initiation into the
Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity going into pledge week, which also is known as
“hell week,” authorities told the East Valley Tribune.
Campus police said his friends saw him heading to a taxi cab and never saw him
again. His shoe was later found by the river.
It is not known whether Culolias was served alcohol at the bar. But Liquor
Licensing and Control officials said investigators will review the credit card
purchases made at the bar and compare them with the ages of the customers prior
to considering whether any fines could be levied against the establishment.
A manager at Cadillac Ranch who answered a phone call last week declined to
comment, saying they had only spoken to Tempe police.
Tempe police said Sunday there’s nothing to indicate the disappearance was
anything but accidental.
“There’s nothing to suggest foul play, it’s just a tragic, tragic incident,”
Pooley said. “Our hearts go out to the family.”