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Family of 19-year-old missing Chapel Hill native Sydney West offers $10,000 reward


Sydney West, a 19-year-old Chapel Hill native, went missing in California in late September. Photo courtesy of Amy Weiss.

The family of a 19-year-old Chapel Hill native who went missing in California in late September has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her return.

Sydney West went missing in the San Francisco area, where she was attending the University of California-Berkeley for her first year.

The $10,000 reward was announced on Jan. 25. The money was put up by the family. 

“We absolutely believe that somebody must know something,” Jay West, Sydney’s father, said in a Jan. 25 Facebook video. 

Sydney West was last seen in the early morning near the Golden Gate Bridge. She is 5’10’’ and was wearing black leggings and a teal hoodie. 

Scott Dudek, a private investigator in San Francisco, said 40 to 50 new tips have come in following the announcement of the reward. The family hired Dudek to help in the search, and they are trying to funnel all information and tips through him.

“Hopefully somebody will spot her on all the flyers – or the TV things – and lead us to her,” Dudek said.

Sydney West's family has also created a Find Sydney West Facebook page to help raise awareness of her disappearance. The page has over 8,800 followers.

“There have been hundreds of posters put up, there’s been millions of views on social media,” Amy Weiss, Sydney's great-aunt, said.

Locally, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office got involved with the search to help serve as a link between the West family and the San Francisco Police Department in the early days of the search, Alicia Stemper, Orange County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, said.

“We got involved trying to assist a caller, one of Sydney’s parents, who was having some difficulty getting the response he needed about his missing college student daughter,” Stemper said. 

The Sheriff’s Office initially entered West into the National Crime Information Center as a missing person, but once the San Francisco Police Department took over, Stemper said they withdrew her information so as not to have conflicting data. 

“The Orange County police department in North Carolina has been especially helpful,” Weiss said.

A vigil was held in the Chapel Hill area in October to help get the word out about West.

“It was to raise awareness, to keep her name out there, to keep the media focused on her and searching for her,” Weiss said. “It was so people could speak about Sydney and our love for her.”

Weiss said West is a singer-songwriter and an athlete. West’s father posted links to some of her songs on the Find Sydney West Facebook page.

Anyone with information can reach private investigator Scott Dudek at (925) 705-8328.


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