The daughter of a missing Ohio college professor is pleading for information about her father, whom she says vanished two weeks ago under mysterious circumstances.
"I just really want him to come home," Kate Russ, 22, told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. "I'm really worried. My birthday is on the 11th and he would never miss telling me happy birthday."
Kate's father, Randall "Randy" Russ, 54, has been missing since mid-August. Authorities say a neighbor was the last person to see Randy, a computer science professor at the University of Cincinnati.
"The family hadn't seen him since the first part of August," Kentucky State Police spokesman David Jones told HuffPost. "A neighbor last saw him on August 17, during the day. That's the last person so far we've found that has seen him."
Kate Russ said it was not uncommon for her father, who lives in a rural area of Dry Ridge, Kentucky, to go several days without contacting her. She said she lives an hour away from Randy and was not immediately concerned when she did not hear from him.
However, that changed this past weekend when she learned her sister and other family members had not heard from Randy in at least two weeks.
"We went to his home and his car was gone and his mail was piled up," Kate said. "The back door [to his house] was also unlocked, which was unusual because he locks his doors all the time."
Kate said that what she found inside the house raised further alarm bells for her.
"My dad loves animals -- he's got three dogs and a cat -- and those animals had been in the house for two weeks, without any food or water," she said.
According to Kate, a search of the house revealed that several items were missing, including jewelry, a rifle and a pistol.
"Other than the missing items, it looked like he had stepped out and intended to return," said Kate. "He had clothes in the washer waiting to be switched over to the dryer, and all his medications were still in the house."
Calls to Randy's cell phone went to voice mail, and his co-workers at the University of Cincinnati, where he is supposed to resume teaching this week, said they had not heard from him.
"This is totally out of character," said Kate. "He doesn't travel that often, but when he does, someone always knows."
Kate said her father has lived alone since the passing of her stepmother in January 2004.
"He likes to live in the country because it's peaceful," she said. "He loves to talk to people and he loves old-school movies."
She said Randy is known to many people locally, and that he has no enemies she's aware of.
"He gets along with pretty much everyone," she said. "He loves to frequent local businesses and he loves to talk to people. He always has a really corny joke to tell."
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The state police said it is too soon to determine whether Randy has met with foul play.
"We got some guys working on it," Jones said. "They are trying to get with his cell phone carrier [to find out] the last time it was used. They are also going to his bank to see if there has been any movement in his bank account. We're looking at every avenue we can right now."
Randy Russ is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and approximately 250 pounds, with light brown/gray hair and brown eyes. He has one ear pierced and had a thick beard at the time of his disappearance. Also missing is his 2006 Ford Focus station wagon. The vehicle, which is grayish-green in color, has a Kentucky license plate with the number 7338DD.
"I just want people to know that if they have seen or heard anything -- even if they think it is small or might not have been important -- to please contact us," Kate said. "Even if it's little, it could really help out."
Anyone with information in this case is asked to contact the Kentucky State Police at 859-428-1212.