(PHILADELPHIA) — Missing University of Rhode Island student Matthew Royer has been located unharmed in North Carolina, according to authorities and his family, but how he got there remains a mystery.
Royer, 21, had been last seen on May 16 on the University of Rhode Island campus. The college junior had moved out of his apartment and returned the keys, according to ABC News’ Philadelphia station WPVI.
Royer was on his way home to Skippack Township, Pa., for the summer where his family was waiting for him. He was supposed to report for work at a golf course the day after he returned home, but when he did not show up, his family reported him missing.
Royer was located on Thursday but details about what took him to North Carolina have not been released.
“The family requests that the media not contact them nor reveal his location as they wish to consider this a private and closed matter,” Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement.
Royer was reunited with family members at an undisclosed location, according to ABC station WPVI.
“I had figured someone took him prisoner or something,” Royer’s grandfather Thomas Scully told ABC News Friday. “We were searching for him. We were afraid.”
Scully, 91, said he did not know why Royer went to North Carolina or how he got there, but called his grandson a “bright kid.”
“His mother knows where he is and he’s alright,” a relieved Scully said. “We don’t know what he’s doing now. He’s making his own world.”
After Royer was reported missing, authorities determined that he made it within about 30 miles of his Pennsylvania home before falling off the grid.
Royer sent a text message to his mother, Janet Royer, at around 6 p.m. on Thursday to say that he had overslept and was “about to leave.”
From there, surveillance footage, debit card use and cell phone tower pings showed Royer stopping at a gas station in Rhode Island at 6:30 p.m., and near Allentown, Pa., at 2 a.m. on Friday and stopping at a gas station about 35 miles from his home a short time later, according to his family and authorities.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Christopher Dawson, CNN
AJ Willingham, CNN
Jill Disis, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN