Friends and family of missing 16-year-old Punahou School student Noah Montemayor vowed to continue looking for him in the second week of his disappearance.
The pledge not to give up comes despite Facebook posts from both of the boy’s parents Wednesday expressing doubt about whether their son is still alive.
“I am so overwhelmed by all the love, help, support you ALL have given to me and my family. I don’t have the words to express my immense gratitude.”
“I feel in my gut that Noah is no longer living this earthly life,” mother Michelle Montemayor posted on the “Help us find Noah Montemayor” group page.
“All indications are that he will never return,” father Andrew Montemayor added.
Michelle Montemayor couldn’t be reached by phone Wednesday, but the mother wrote on Facebook that she was able to inspect her son’s phone Tuesday for the first time, looking at his phone messages, emails and Facebook account.
“There is no indication that anyone he knows is hiding him,” she said. “Oh, how I hoped I would find something revealing in that light (that he just needed some time away) but it only confirmed my worst nightmare.”
Despite the doubts expressed online Wednesday, scores of friends and family offered words of support and prayer, imploring the parents to hold out hope and promising to continue searching and distributing fliers with the boy’s picture.
They also offered a number of suggestions and ideas for new locations to search.
A cousin, Matthew Alfelor, said there’s no new evidence to indicate that Noah Montemayor is dead.
“I still think he’s alive. I still feel hopeful,” he said.
Alfelor said Noah’s parents are simply expressing their deepest fears as they struggle with the heart- wrenching situation in which they find themselves.
“It’s been really hard on them,” he said. “The last week has really taken its toll.”
The 5-foot-9-inch, 130-pound boy with black hair and brown eyes was last seen going to bed in his Hawaii Kai home at around 9 p.m. Sept. 29, and was reported missing the following morning, police said.
The boy’s drawstring bag and cellphone were found that afternoon on the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail, according to family members.
Following the discovery of the belongings, police searched the Makapuu area for two days with dogs, while lifeguards and firefighters also scanned the shore and ocean. Nothing was found.
The Coast Guard joined the search Thursday night and deployed an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and three vessels over the weekend. They also came up empty.
On Saturday afternoon, more than 100 people gathered at Magic Island for an organized search for the teenager. Volunteers, many from Punahou School, where Montemayor is a junior, posted fliers with his photo across the island.
Mike Garcia, a Honolulu Police Department missing persons detective, said Monday that tips have been coming in every day and nothing has been ruled out yet.
Earlier, Elise Johnson, a private investigator hired by Montemayor’s parents, said a classmate saw the boy at around 9:30 p.m. Friday, on Tantalus, but he fled before the classmate could speak with him.
She said the teen’s family suspects academic pressure may have pushed him into hiding. Montemayor plays viola with the Punahou Symphony and runs on the varsity cross-country team.
On Facebook Wednesday, the parents expressed their gratitude for the support they have received.
“I am so overwhelmed by all the love, help, support you ALL have given to me and my family. I don’t have the words to express my immense gratitude. I love and appreciate you all,” Michelle Montemayor wrote.
Her husband added: “I’ve never felt so much love and ohana as I have the past week seeing the entire state rallying together to help find him. I hope he knows this love.”
Andrew Montemayor wrote that he rarely goes on Facebook but on Wednesday he felt compelled to share his sorrow.
“I have felt God only provided me Noah and no one else because he is the best and that I need no other,” he said. “I’ve made it a point to kiss him and tell him I love him every day just in case this day may come. I’ve prayed he would outlive me. My pain is so deep now. I feel I need my friends more than ever now.”
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.