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November 21, 2015

Missing Cheltenham teen found dead after police search

Washington College student Jacob Marberger went missing from Cheltenham home on November 16

Missing Teen Search
11162015_jacob_marberger_WC Source/Washington College

Jacob Marberger, of Cheltenham, Montgomery County, is a sophomore at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

The search for missing Cheltenham teenager Jacob Marberger concluded Saturday as Pennsylvania State Police confirmed the Washington College student – wanted for weapons offenses and feared to have been armed – died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Berks County.

A State Police trooper confirmed that Marberger, 19, was found dead shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday in the picnic area of the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Albany Township. Authorities said the teen's green Land Rover was found parked at the scene. 

A native of Cheltenham, Marberger was last seen early Monday morning in Pennsylvania. He had a warrant out for his arrest in connection to an alleged incident in late October, when authorities say he brandished an "antique" revolver while drunk at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house where he was a member. Marberger was suspended from Washington College in Chestertown, Md. for a week and a half and was wanted on charges in Kent County, including possession of a dangerous weapon on school property.

Washington College, located in Chestertown, Md. placed the entire campus on lockdown, suspending classes and ordering students and faculty to shelter in place after receiving a report from Marberger's parents that their son had taken a rifle case from the family home. Cheltenham High School also enforced a lockdown after hearing of Marberger's disappearance.

Jacob Marberger, 19, grew up in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County. (Contributed Art/Facebook). 

Chestertown police, accompanied by the FBI, launched a high-intensity search for Marberger, who had not made any direct threats to the university, but was considered potentially dangerous after he was kicked out of the fraternity and resigned from his position as speaker of the senate in the college's Student Government Association.

As authorities searched for Marberger, officials said he was seen purchasing ammunition in Hamburg, Pa. at some point on November 16, according to The Washington Post. Amid a string of recent college shootings and threats, college administrators decided to take full precautionary measures. 

Marberger's father, Jon, told the Post that his son was "an intellectual, conscientious young man" who was not likely a threat to others. The decision to notify the college of his disappearance came out of a feeling that it was the appropriate action to take. 

On a GoFundMe page that has since been deleted, the Washington College community offered a note of support to Marberger, encouraging him to contact his parents to let them know he was safe. University officials echoed that sentiment in a series of tweets.

On Saturday afternoon, the college issued a statement of sympathy in following news of Marberger's death.

It is with great sorrow that we must inform you this evening of the passing of sophomore Jacob Marberger. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Marberger family in their time of unimaginable grief.
This is a terrible blow to our community, and the outpouring of compassion and support we have shown each other will help us through this difficult time. We need to continue to be supportive of each other as we mourn individually and as a community.
We will have counseling services on-hand when students return to campus; more details will be forthcoming.
If you need to speak to someone to help you through this process immediately, please contact your local crisis services.

Students at Washington College, located about 80 miles southeast of Philadelphia, have been directed to the school's website for information on when classes, canceled through Thanksgiving break, will resume.