'Personal crisis' may have led to UAA runner's disappearance

A "personal crisis" likely triggered the disappearance of a UAA student-athlete that launched a citywide search this week, the head of the University Police Department said today in an email sent to students.

Marko Cheseto, a senior and All-America runner for the Seawolves, was missing for two days before he stumbled to safety early Wednesday morning, more than two days after he had last been seen Sunday evening near the UAA library.

In an email sent to students Friday afternoon, UAA police chief Rick Shell said it is believed Cheseto disappeared for personal reasons.

"(B)ased on the limited information currently available, we believe that Marko suffered from a personal crisis and that (led) to his disappearance," the email said.

The UAA police department, he wrote, "has ruled out a second-party abduction as the cause of Marko's disappearance."

University police plan to interview Cheseto next week to learn more about what happened during the two-day disappearance, Shell wrote.

Cheseto, 28, remains hospitalized with frostbite at Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he is "doing well," UAA athletic director Steve Cobb said Friday afternoon.

Cobb said the athletic department will release a statement about Cheseto's disappearance early next week.

It is believed that Cheseto, a star of the cross country and track teams who is one of several runners from Kenya who compete for UAA, spent the entire time outside in deep snow and temperatures that dipped into single digits. He was wearing a jacket, sneakers and blue jeans but no hat or gloves when he was found wandering outside the SpringHill Suites, a hotel near the campus.

The hotel manager who called 911 said that when paramedics tried to remove Cheseto's shoes they couldn't because they were frozen to Cheseto's feet.

Anchorage Daily News