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 Many others suffered a fate similar to Abel-see details

Abel Bolanos Search continues for missing ISU student-4/2007 Article
April 1, 2007 The body of a missing Iowa State University student was found on campus this afternoon.-4/5/07 Article
Iowa State University Drowning shows male drinking risks-4/19/07 Article

Article Summaries and Excerpts Below

Does this need to happen to Abel and others  


Search continues for missing ISU student                                   Top of  page 

   AMES, Iowa (AP) — Teams of Iowa State University students and other volunteers were joining trained searchers, the Civil Air Patrol and law enforcement today to search for a missing student.

   Abel Bolanos, 19, a sophomore from Rolling Meadows, Ill., a Chicago suburb, disappeared last weekend. Iowa State police said he had been drinking at an off-campus party before he disappeared Saturday between 4 and 4:30 a.m.

   The university said groups of 60 volunteers will assist searchers in three shifts on Tuesday.

   ``Our hope is that we find Abel soon,'' Dean of Students Dione Somerville said. ``We are committing all available resources and continue to work with ISU police, other agencies and Abel's family to bring him home safely.

   His sister begged for his safe return on Monday, saying he would never have disappeared on his own.

   ``This is not like him,'' Marivelle Bolanos said at a news conference outside Wallace Hall, a residence hall where her brother lives. ``Our whole family back home is very concerned.''

   Abel Bolanos left his keys to his dorm room and his car at the party.

   On Monday, teams of ISU students searched residential areas near that apartment complex.

   The search included help from the Iowa State Patrol, which used an aircraft with heat-detection capability to search for Bolanos in Ames on Sunday night.

   Area law enforcement officials have searched all the rooms in Bolanos' residence hall and the rooms of an unoccupied residence hall next to it, said Cmdr. Gene Deisinger of the ISU police department.

   Bolanos was drinking at the party before he disappeared but was not upset before he left, Deisinger said.

   ``The search is based on concerns on Abel's welfare,'' said Deisinger. He added that police believe no foul play was involved in his disappearance.

   ``We're very concerned if he's been out in the environment,'' Deisinger said.


The body of a missing Iowa State University student was found on campus this afternoon. The student’s death remains under investigation.                  Top of  page               Article

Published April 3rd, 2007

Related News Releases - Updated April 5, 2007

April 4, 2007
Investigation continues regarding the death of Abel M. Bolanos, an Iowa State University student whose body was found on Tuesday afternoon following an extensive search process.

 April 2, 2007
Assistance sought in locating missing student.

At 3:39 p.m. today rescue personnel were conducting a search of Lake Laverne (on the Iowa State University campus) when they discovered the body of a college-age male. The person’s body was found, fully submerged, in the southeast corner of the lake.

Law enforcement personnel secured the scene and requested assistance from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Office of the State Medical Examiner. Iowa State University Police is the lead agency; however the investigation is being conducted jointly with the Ames Police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Upon recovery, the body was examined and was positively identified as that of Abel Merlos Bolanos, age 19, of 2303 Wallace Hall. ISU directory information indicated Bolanos was a sophomore from Rolling Meadows, IL, majoring in English.

Consistent with information gathered in the investigation (to date), no obvious signs of foul play were noted. However, the cause of death has not yet been determined and the case remains under investigation.

An autopsy will be conducted by Dr. Dennis Klein, Assistant State Medical Examiner, on Wednesday (April 4) at the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny.

Mr. Bolanos was reported missing on Sunday, April 1 after family and friends had been unable to make contact with him. Since Sunday afternoon, an exhaustive search has been conducted. The search efforts included use of multiple aircraft, canine search teams, door to door contacts throughout the Wallace-Wilson complex and the Campustown area, and physical searches of several square miles of terrain.

The search involved personnel and resources from a number of agencies including: Ames Police Department, Ames Fire Department, Star 1 Search and Rescue, Civil Air Patrol, Boone County Search and Rescue, Iowa State Patrol, Story County Sheriff’s Office, Story County Emergency Management, and Iowa State University Police and Parking personnel as well as other University staff. Several specialized canine and underwater search teams (from across the state) also assisted in the search. Over two hundred community members also volunteered to assist with search efforts. Iowa State University Police are grateful for the extraordinary collaboration and support provided by all agencies and persons who assisted with the search process.

Archived Latest News Stories Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:14 AM CDT


Drowning shows male drinking risks                        

College men more likely to binge drink, then not offer help to each other

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Ames, Ia. - The alcohol-related death of Iowa State University student Abel Bolanos illustrates two problems.

College men like Bolanos are more likely to binge drink, according to studies and anecdotal evidence. They are also less likely than college women to help one another when intoxicated.

Veishea, Iowa State's annual spring festival with a history of binge drinking, is happening this week. Bolanos' family members said his death should highlight the importance of students, including men, watching out for each other.

"We can all do more as individuals to care for one another and ourselves," said Bolanos' sister, Marivelle, who is an Iowa State graduate. "It is not as socially acceptable for a man to 'check in' with friends and I do think we can change that."

Three of the four alcohol-related accidental deaths among young people in Ames in the last two years have been young men, two of whom were Iowa State students. Nationwide 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, according to a task force on college drinking created by the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Nationally, 50 percent to 60 percent of college men reported heavy drinking episodes, compared with 34 percent to 40 percent of women, according to a 2002 study published by the national alcohol abuse council's task force.

Bolanos left an off-campus party alone in the early morning hours of March 31. His body was found in Lake LaVerne on April 3.

Marivelle Bolanos, 28, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, said she noticed a difference between how college men and college women help each other when they are drinking. She said she didn't ever remember walking home alone when she attended ISU.

"Women probably have more closer relationships with their friends in that manner," she said, adding that her family had talked to Abel Bolanos about communicating his whereabouts in class, at work, or even at out-of-state parties in efforts to ensure his safety.

"Men should just probably be as careful," she said.

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Talk among guys: We're not vulnerable

Marivelle Bolanos' observations are shared on the Iowa State campus.

"In my sorority, we really really preach: Stay together. Don't walk alone," said Bailey Beckner, an 18-year-old Iowa State University freshman from Corydon. "Guys don't think they are as vulnerable."

Dusty Kroll, an ISU junior from Avoca, said he is aware of the reluctance among men to walk other men home after one has had too much to drink. He's among a group of students trying to address that by creating a program he hopes to have in place by fall that offers free rides for students too drunk to drive or walk home alone.

Kroll was friends with a woman who died on campus as a result of binge drinking. Kelly Laughery, 20, died on Dec. 3, 2005, after a fellow ISU student who was driving drunk hit her and drove away. Kroll said the program is partly in response to Laughery's death and partly in response to Bolanos' death.

"We are assuming he was alone and that's why this happened, and that's how our program is trying to help us out," he said.

Some men, including Lance Jensen, 21, of Indianola, say they do look out for each other when they are out.

"I have a good group of friends," said Jensen, a junior, after sharing drinks with a group of men at Cy's Roost on a recent Thursday night. "They look after me. Say I left here - I would get a phone call or a text from these guys finding out where I left."

But Max Claassen, a 24-year-old ISU senior from Waterloo, said men are likely to reject help while drinking.

"I think guys are kind of stubborn compared to women," he said.

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Impulses, risk-taking a deadly combination

Men tend to have lower levels of impulse controls and higher levels of risk-taking, a deadly combination on college campuses, according to Paul Gruenewald, scientific director at the Prevention Research Center in Berkeley, Calif., which studies alcohol and drug abuse.

Gruenewald said colleges have failed to reduce excessive partying. He said regulations could be imposed on campus environments like Greek houses and campus parties where alcohol is served.

Men are more likely to accelerate one another's drinking, as opposed to moderate it, he said.

"There are reasons these deaths occur among men in college situations," said Gruenewald. "The more we study, the more clear it becomes that many college environments are dangerous for drinking."

Iowa State does not ban alcohol in fraternities and sororities or on-campus parties, officials said. However, the university is studying how it can better reach out to students living off-campus to educate them on how to safely throw a party, said Tom Hill, ISU vice president of student affairs.

"We need to be sure we are using every opportunity to make sure we are educating students how to conduct an off-campus function - and if you choose to include alcohol, what are the precautions; what are concerns?" Hill said.

Statistics show that Iowa's college men are five times more likely to be arrested by campus police for public intoxication. A total of 589 men were arrested by campus police at the University of Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa for public intoxication in the last year, compared with 108 women at the three universities.

Abel Bolanos was arrested for public intoxication in Ames in September, after police found him passed out on a sidewalk in Campustown.

At Iowa State, judicial affairs staff do not notify parents of alcohol or drug misconduct on or off campus, unless it rises to the type of conduct, such as a felony, that is directed at other members of the university community, said Andy Alt, an assistant director in ISU's office of judicial affairs.

Alt said he could not say whether Bolanos' parents were notified after he was arrested for public intoxication in Ames in September, citing federal student privacy laws.

Bolanos' last hours alive in Ames were spent at an apartment party in Campustown.

There, someone took his keys, but did not drive or walk him home when he left the party at 4 a.m., police said.

"At least one person made a comment to Abel when he was getting ready to go - they asked him where he was going and asked him not to go," said ISU Police Commander Eugene Deisinger. "I'm not aware of anyone trying to physically restrain him."

Reporter Lisa Rossi can be reached at (515) 232-2383 or

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