U of I Student Disappears After Checking in At O'Hare

Hye Min "Joseph" Choi went through airport security but apparently never made it on his plane to North Carolina

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Joseph Choi, 19, was scheduled to fly home to North Carolina Saturday after wrapping up his first year on campus, but he never made it home. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez speaks with his worried mother. (Published Monday, May 19, 2014)

    A University of Illinois freshman is missing after his family says he didn't arrive home after checking in for his flight at O'Hare International Airport over the weekend.

    Hye Min "Joseph" Choi, 19, was scheduled to fly home to North Carolina Saturday after wrapping up his first year on campus, but he never arrived on the 10:30 p.m. flight.

    "Everybody came out but he didn't come out," the missing student's mother, Juheekim Choi, said. "I grab the crew and said my son is in there, she said nobody is there."

    Surveillance video from the airport showed Choi passing through a security checkpoint at 3:10 p.m., according to his mother. 

    The missing student's family was at the airport Monday night looking through security video from the boarding station, which would have been the last place he would have been captured on camera.

    According to Juheekim Choi, the last time anyone heard from him was at 4:50 p.m. when he called his father and said that he was very hungry at the airport. His father advised him to get something to eat, but it's unclear what happened from that point on. Phone records show no other calls made or received during that time period.

    Choi did check his luggage, which made it to the airport in Greensboro.

    Choi, an engineering major on a full scholarship, turned 19 on Sunday and finished up the school year with good grades, according to his mother.

    "He has no friends and he cannot drive," Juheekim Choi said. "We were planning a birthday party for him but he didn't appear."

    Anyone with information on Choi's whereabouts is asked to call the Chicago Police Department at 312-744-8266.

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