Missing 2 weeks, loved ones hold out hope of seeing missing teen

Friday, 06 October 2017, 04:25:17 PM. Nicholas Pratico mysteriously disappeared 2 weeks ago

HAMILTON -- College freshman Nicholas Pratico vanished two weeks ago, but his picture and name are a constant presence online.

Friends and family - who started a specific page about his Sept. 20 disappearance - continue to post messages to and about him that ache for his return.

"Nicky, wherever you may be. Please stay safe. Stay strong. Keep fighting. We love you to infinity and beyond. We love you unconditionally and we want you to come home. Please, if you can, reach out to someone," his family posted Wednesday on Find Nick Pratico.

The 18-year-old's friends posted a nearly 12-minute video to YouTube Thursday, filled with messages of thoughts and prayer they hope he will see, and lead to his return.

The police searching for him, though, have nothing new to report.

The family, on the Facebook page, says they see all the "negativity and rumors " posted on the page and they urged people not to spread it.

"The information posted on this page or announced by the officials working on Nicky' case are credible sources, but otherwise, please avoid rumors and negativity," the family posted.

One tidbit the police confirmed was that Pratico's Mercer County Community College identification card was found near the college by a searcher on Sept. 22 - two days after he went missing - but the lead did not pan out.

Pratico was last seen at freshman orientation at the school in West Windsor. A security camera recorded him wearing a light blue shirt, black pants and carrying a blue backpack, at 3 p.m. His family reported him missing at 10 p.m. that night.

A volunteer searcher found the ID card on a campus lawn near the Edinburg Road entrance, Hamilton police Sgt. Brian Schroeder.

An officer retrieved it, handling it on the edges only, and it was brought to Hamilton police headquarters, where an "experienced" evidence technician examined it and found no fingerprints - including Pratico's, Schroeder said.

The security pictures of Pratico were from the booth where he received the ID, and it's unlikely he'd even handled that much and its discovery was deemed not useful to the investigation, Schroeder said.

At a press event last week, Father Jason Parzynski who is close with the family and the chaplain at Pratico's alma mater, Notre Dame High School, said it would be totally out of character for him to purposely leave without notifying his family.

Come Home Nick Pratico

Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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