MOSCOW • A search for an 18-year-old University of Idaho student from Hailey ended in tragedy Monday afternoon.
Latah County Search and Rescue found the body of Joseph Wiederrick under a bridge over Paradise Creek just northeast of Moscow, according to a press release from the Moscow Police Department.
Wiederrick had been missing since early Sunday. Moscow Police Chief David Duke said Wiederrick’s roommate contacted police at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday saying Wiederrick never returned from a fraternity event Saturday night.
Duke told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that it is believed Wiederrick crawled under the bridge to rest and likely died of hypothermia, though it will take up to three weeks for a blood screening to be finished.
Duke earlier said the roommate told police the two went to a fraternity on campus and Wiederrick left on foot around midnight.
The roommate last spoke to Wiederrick at about 3 a.m. Sunday, Duke told the Times-News.
Monday morning, a homeowner who lives in the north part of Moscow came forward and told police she believed Wiederrick was in her basement shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday. She confronted Wiederrick and told him to leave, and he did, Duke said.
Police believe Wiederrick called his roommate after leaving the house. During the call Wiederrick told his roommate he was heading back to the fraternity, which would have been southwest of the home. Instead, footprints and cellphone pings indicate he headed east from the home.
Duke said this indicates Wiederrick was disoriented, although the homeowner said she didn’t believe he was very intoxicated when she spoke to him. Police didn't pick up any more cellphone pings.
Early Monday morning, police tracked Wiederrick’s footprints about two miles east of Moscow. Then at sunrise, Latah County Search and Rescue activated its team and searched all day Monday.
“Several teams are searching east, north and in town for him,” Duke said Monday afternoon.
Duke said Wiederrick’s parents had arrived in Moscow and said it was abnormal for him not to be in contact with them.
Police earlier Monday did not believe foul play was involved, Duke said.