WAUKESHA (WITI) — Waukesha officials are appealing to the public for any help they can offer in the search for missing 15-year-old Kathryn Stalbaum, a freshman at Kettle Moraine High School. On Thursday afternoon, it was announced in a news conference that Stalbaum’s bicycle had been recovered.
Stalbaum was last seen around 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday, November 5th at her Town of Genesee residence.
Officials said in the news conference they are looking over the bike for any evidence that might help lead them to Stalbaum.
There are a lot of people following this search — including classmates, clergy and even total strangers. Several residents in the Wales-Genesee Depot area are looking for ways to help.
It was reported that Stalbaum missed the bus for school and sent a text to a friend stating that she would be riding her bicycle to school.
Stalbaum did not show up for school Tuesday or Wednesday and has not been heard from since.
Businesses in a strip mall across the street from Kettle Moraine High School say they have been contacted by police who want to look at their surveillance video. Some of those businesses also employ students who are shaken by Stalbaum’s disappearance.
Kettle Moraine freshman D.J. Munich says the mood in class Thursday was unlike anything they’ve seen.
“Everyone was just so upset, sad. I saw at least seven people just crying their eyes out, everywhere red faces — groups of people in the hall talking about it,” Munich said.
Managers at Mama Mia’s, across the street from the school, say they employ about 10 students.
“We’re here. We’re very supportive. We are a family business, so we do have that mentality that we’re here. Talk to us. We’re here for you,” Tracey Harker said.
Authorities leading the search say they’ve heard from a number of people offering physical support — wanting to join the search. In each case, officials turned the volunteers away.
“Just to have people come in and try to help us with no training and no radios, it could create more problems than it’s worth,” Wales-Genesee Fire Chief Jim Moon said.
Instead, rescue crews are asking those looking to help to simply keep their eyes open and pray.
Christopher Schwartz has volunteered for the past 10 years to help out whenever he hears of a missing persons case in southeaster Wisconsin. He says he would like to help in this case, but will settle for putting up posters.
“The best I can do is put up these flyers and try to help these families out,” said Schwartz. “Miracles do happen and that’s what I want with all these cases — a miracle for these people to be found and be safe.”
Meanwhile, Stalbaum’s schoolmates are struggling to make sense of her disappearance.
Officials are appealing to homeowners and businesses with surveillance cameras to review their video. If they live anywhere in the area where Stalbaum might have ridden her bike, they’re urged to check out the video to see if there is anything that could help in the search.
“Nothing like this happens here. We’re pretty much scared I guess, because we don`t know what happened to her,” Kettle Moraine freshman T.J. Lui said.
Stalbaum is about 5’7”, 120 pounds, has long brown hair, blue eyes, braces and wears contacts. She may be wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and bright pink Nike tennis shoes.
If you have seen Kathryn Stalbaum or have any information to her whereabouts please contact the Waukesha County Communication Center at 262-446-5090.