Ivan Maisel, a senior writer for ESPN.com, is clinging to the hope that his missing 21-year-old son Max will be found safe.
"We're scared and we're heartbroken," Maisel said at a Wednesday press conference on a pier in western New York, near where his son's car was found. "We're asking for help."
Max Maisel, 21, has been missing since Sunday evening. The last confirmed sighting of him was that day at the upstate New York campus of Rochester Institute of Technology, where he's a third-year photography student. His cell phone, house keys and other personal belongings were found inside his apartment, according to his family.
Max's car, a bronze 2004 Acura SUV, was found Monday. The vehicle was parked near Charlotte Pier at the mouth of the Genesee River, authorities said.
In a Thursday interview with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Maisel said a witness reported seeing his son at the pier around 8 p.m. Sunday.
"There was a guy who saw him get out of his car," Maisel told the newspaper. "The guy left and came back and the car was still there, and that unnerved him and he called the police."
Authorities have yet to confirm that sighting.
Maisel said that he and his wife had exchanged text messages with Max in the days leading up to his disappearance. Calls to his phone last weekend went unanswered, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.
"We don't know where Max is and that's hard to deal with," Maisel said at Thursday's press conference.
The Rochester Police Department said it is using boats and divers to search the waters around Charlotte Pier. Those search efforts continued on Friday.
"It's one of those [cases] where we just don't know [what happened], but we still remain hopeful," police spokeswoman Jackie Shuman told The Huffington Post.
Colleagues of Maisel, a well-known sports writer, have been showing their support on social media.
— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) February 27, 2015
— MikeTirico (@miketirico) February 25, 2015
Praying 4 @Ivan_Maisel a terrific guy & his family / God Bless
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) February 26, 2015
"Our thoughts are with the Maisel family as they face this heartbreaking and emotional situation," ESPN said in a statement Thursday. "Ivan is a caring and respected member of the ESPN family and we are hopeful that more information comes to light and good news lies ahead."
Max Maisel is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs approximately 135 pounds. He wears dark-rimmed glasses. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Rochester Police Department Investigator Kevin Wehbring at 585-428-6293.