Investigation continues into whereabouts of missing SUNY Plattsburgh student

ALBANY The investigation continues into the disappearance of a 21-year-old Latham man and former student at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Members of the Albany Police Department are conducting follow-up interviews and researching phone and computer records of Joshua Szostak, who was last seen leaving a bar on the citys lower east side 12:15 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22. Police department spokesman Det. Jim Miller said there is little new information regarding Mr. Szostaks disappearance. What police do know is that Mr. Szostak was seen leaving the Bayou Cafe on North Pearl Street alone, where he traveled on foot. Video surveillance outside the establishment captured Mr. Szostak walking south to the intersection of State and North Pearl Streets where he was last seen. There was no sign of him after that, said Det. Miller. Businesses in that vicinity have been contacted to see if they have surveillance of the area Mr. Szostak was last seen, but have so far turned up nothing. Det. Miller said it is unsure where Mr. Szostak went after he was no longer able to be seen by the surveillance camera. The only other clue the department has uncovered at this time is Mr. Szostaks cell phone, which was found near a government lot where a Department of Environmental Conservation vehicle was stolen. The vehicle was later found damaged at approximately 1:40 a.m., Det. Miller said. The Albany office of the DEC is located on Eagle Street, two blocks northwest of where Mr. Szostak was last seen, though police have no indication if Mr. Szostaks disappearance and the stolen vehicle are related other than the location of his recovered cell phone. There was no indication of a struggle at either the bar or where Mr. Szostaks cell phone was recovered, said Det. Miller. Scott Marra, a friend of Mr. Szostaks who worked with him at the Latham Hannaford in Albany, was working the night Mr. Szostak disappeared. The last time he saw him, said Mr. Marra, was when Mr. Szostak came in to the store to return some bottles, just hours before his disappearance. That was the last time that I saw him, said Mr. Marra. Not knowing of what would come, Mr. Marra expected to see him that Sunday, Dec. 23, when Mr. Szostak was scheduled to work from 3-11 p.m. It was 3:30 p.m. and Mr. Marras friend and co-worker had not shown up for work. It is very unusual to not hear from him, said Mr. Marra, who has known Mr. Szostak for more than a year. He would always call to say that he would be late or not coming in. Its definitely not like him, said Cait Flintz, another friend and former co-worker of Mr. Szostaks. Especially before Christmas. He wouldnt leave his family. It was when Mr. Szostak didnt show up that Mr. Marra and the other Hannaford employees began to worry, he said. He proceeded to call Mr. Szostaks cell phone to reach him, but the call went directly to his voicemail. He later learned from his assistant manager that Joshs parents came into the store to inform her there was no contact with their son and that they were working with the police, said Mr. Marra. Mr. Szostaks father, William, said he had spoken with his son the night of his disappearance. He was aware his son was going out with friends that night and later learned his son had stopped with friends at a bar called the Elbow Room, on the corner of Delaware and Morton streets, where he then parked his vehicle. Mr. Szostak and his friends then took a cab, his father said, and ended up at the Bayou Cafe. It was there where Mr. Szostak got separated from his friends and he eventually disappeared, said his father. Tracking dogs used by the police department were able to track Mr. Szostaks scent a block away from his vehicle, in a section of Lincoln Park which is reportedly known for criminal activity, said William Szostak. The dogs further picked up his sons scent to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which bisects the park, where the scent was lost, he said. It seemed to be he was placed in a vehicle, said William Szostak. The only confusion is, his cell phone was found five miles away at the Port of Albany ... Its mystery. A massive search was conducted Dec. 24, including diving teams and K-9 units, which resumed the day after Christmas, said Mr. Szostaks father. Since then a candlelight vigil has been held in the hopes the missing SUNY Plattsburgh student will be found. Josh was not a fighter, he was a lover. He always ended a conversation with peace, not goodbye, recalled his father. Mr. Szostaks father pleaded that anyone with information contact police and keep him in their prayers. I just want him home, he said. If you or someone you know has information regarding the disappearance of Joshua Szostak, contact the Albany Police Department at 462-8039. A reward is also being established for information leading to Mr. Szostaks return. William Szostak also said he may be reached at 466-6474 for more information.

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