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ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 14, 8:00 A.M.: On Nov. 30, Brea resident Jack Culolias went out with around 200 other people in fraternities and sororities from Arizona State University to the Cadillac Ranch in Tempe. Culolias was about to start Hell Week in an attempt to join the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity.
Among the madness that was a bunch of frat boys and sorority girls, Culolias entered the bar with a fake ID, but was eventually kicked out because he was caught peeing off the balcony. Culolias' phone was left at the bar, along with his credit card that had a tab of about $8 on it. The last physical evidence of him alive is in a photograph taken around 10 p.m., a short time before he left the Cadillac Ranch.
When Culolias' family realized he was missing, they went straight to Tempe to look for him, doing their own independent investigation. Culolias' mother found a single red shoe near a river basin, only a few minutes walking distance from the Cadillac Ranch; DNA testing confirmed that the shoe belonged to Culolias. Police have searched the water and surrounding tall grass areas that are underneath a freeway overpass, but have come up with no other evidence.
Last night, a group of friends, family, and supporters gathered at Brea Olinda High School (Jack's alma mater) for a prayer vigil. Culolias' twin brother, tall and handsome just like him, stood strong at the vigil and believes he is still alive. Renae Culolias, Jack's stepmother, describes Jack as a sweet, extroverted boy. When he told her he wanted to be part of SAE, Renae expressed concerns about hazing rituals, but nevertheless supported his choice.
"I think someone knows something," Culolias' stepmother says, "and they're just not talking."
At this point, she's just trying to remain strong. She lost the Jack's father in July of this year after to a long battle with cancer. She described her husband and Culolias as best friends who were exceptionally close.
The family is touched at the enormous amount of support from people in OC and Tempe. The search will continue. Anyone with any information is highly encouraged to contact the Tempe Police. Our hearts and prayers go out to Jack and his family.
UPDATE, DEC. 17, 9:20 A.M.: A body was found floating in the Salt River near the Cadillac Ranch. It was discovered by a private search party that continued to scour the basin area for Jack Culolias, even after police had conducted their investigation with boats, underwater cameras, and radar equipment.
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Reports indicate the body had a single red shoe similar to Culolias' that his mother found shortly after his disappearance. Tests are still being conducted to identify the body, but there is a "strong possibility" that it's the former Brea resident. Authorities have notified the family, but no statements have been released.
Culolias' biological mother had commented that she wanted to make sure the Tempe Police were conducting a thorough search. Yet their search of the area finished over a week ago. It's being speculated that the body was caught somewhere on the bottom of the basin, and only recently came to the surface. Authorities report that the body looks to have been in the water for some time.
Our prayers continue to go out to Jack's family and friends.