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Family of missing Columbia man offering reward for information

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | 5:10 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The family of Nicholas Coppola — the Columbia man and MU student who has been missing since Dec. 12 — is offering a reward of $3,000 for any information that leads to his safe return. 

They posted information about the reward on Help Find Nick, a website launched by the family to aid in the efforts to find their son. 

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According to the website, the Coppola family was told by three different police departments that police do not have the resources to search for Coppola because he is not a missing child; he is legally an adult and has not committed a felony.  The website allows for donations to help the family pay for a private investigator. 

While the website also provides contact information, the family has not received solid tips on what might have happened, Nicholas' father, Gene Coppola, said. They have not received any news of possible sightings or leads to Nicholas Coppola's whereabouts. His family lives in Weldon Springs. 

Coppola was last seen by friends and family on Dec. 10 when his mother visited him after she and her son had an argument concerning a religious book, according to a previous Missourian article

Two days later at about 1 p.m., Foristell police found Coppola’s abandoned 1998 Subaru Legacy alongside eastbound Interstate 70, just west of St. Louis, where it had run out of gas. Coppola was 20 miles from home. In his car, police found his cell phone and identification, the article said. 

His family believes that he was on his way to their Weldon Springs home from MU to celebrate his father's birthday, according to their website. 

It was also determined that Wright City police had arrested Coppola on Dec. 12 on charges that he tried to enter two residences. According to previous Missourian reporting, Foristell Police Chief Douglas Johnson said he thinks Coppola was trying to stay warm and seek shelter. Johnson said Wright City police charged Coppola with trespassing and disturbing the peace.

He was booked and processed at the Warren County Jail and released on a summons at 5:40 p.m. Dec. 12, Johnson said. Johnson said Coppola made no attempt to contact family or friends while he was in jail.

According to the website, Coppola, 24, is about 5 feet 9 inches tall, around 175 to 235 pounds, has blue eyes and wears wire-rimmed glasses.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Foristell Police Department at 636-463-2123, ext. 227.

Additional contact information for his family is available at Help Find Nick.


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