Family, friends worry as San Francisco, NC police search for missing Berkeley student

Fox News Flash top headlines for October 6

The loved ones of a 19-year-old woman who went missing last week after moving from North Carolina to the San Francisco area to attend college are increasingly worried about her.

Sydney West was excited for a fresh start at the University of California at Berkeley after leaving her Chapel Hill, N.C., home in August. She was last seen Sept. 30 near Crissy Field, located near the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Police Department said.

Her parents, Jay and Kimberley West, issued a plea Monday asking the public for help in finding their daughter, who goes by "Syd."

“We are asking anyone who has any information about our daughter Sydney to please contact the investigators," they said through the Orange County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina. "We are anxious to have our daughter found safe and brought home."

Sydney West (Orange County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina)

West is considered at-risk because of depression, the SFPD said. The department said it has entered her information into the FBI's National Crime Information Center database, which is used to locate missing persons and fugitives.

The News & Observer in Raleigh reported the family may hold a vigil for the teen this week, according to her uncle, Robert West, who lives in California. He said he last saw his niece in August after he and his brother, Jay West, helped her move into her dorm room.

He said he dropped by a day later to bring her some food.

“I love her dearly and we want her home safe,” he told the news outlet. “That’s the main thing at this point — we just want her back and want to know if she’s OK. She’s very loved by a lot of people.

“She was having a hard time,” he added. “That’s a tough adjustment, and she never had been away from home. I think it was a pretty scary move and quite a bit of anxiety for her.”

Sydney West grew up and attended high school in the San Francisco area before moving with her family in 2017 to Chapel Hill where she was co-captain of her high school varsity volleyball team.

She took a year off in 2019 after not getting accepted to her first college choice, putting off school to travel and spend time with family.

Her friend, Katie Donovan, told the newspaper she had not spoken with West since she left for college.

“She would always call me late at night, and she had all these plans that she wanted to go do and stuff,” she said. “But she was also the kind of friend that you could have a deep conversation with for hours.”

Another high school friend, Kelley Gosk, told the paper West's disappearance is uncharacteristic of her.

“We’re just hoping she’s all right. It’s just scary,” Gosk said.

Fox News reached out to several friends of West but have not heard back.

In a December 2019 interview with self-compassion teacher Laura Prochnow Phillips, West described the pressure she put on herself to succeed academically.

Sydney West (Orange County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina)

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“People have always told me that one of my biggest weaknesses … was that I was so hard on myself,” she said. "While I do think is helpful and that is kind of part of who I am… being kinder to myself is a lot more effective because it allows me to do things out of a place of growth and excitement and enjoyment and curiously."

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of West is asked to contact the San Francisco Police Department at 415-575-4444.

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