News | Student Life

Police: Dental student reported missing since Wednesday

  • MISSING | Jiwon Lee, a student at the College of Dental Medicine, was reported missing on the night of April 2.

Updated, 4/8, 9:16 p.m.

Jiwon Lee, a College of Dental Medicine student, was reported missing Wednesday night, said police.

Lee is described by the police report as a 29-year-old female, 5-foot-2, 120-pounds, with black hair and black eyes. According to the police report, she was last seen near her residence at 220 West 98th St. at 8:30 p.m. on April 1.

As of Monday evening, police said they did not have updates on the case. A Daily Mail article published Sunday afternoon cited an “NYPD source” saying that investigators had found a suicide note in Lee's apartment, but police denied the reports when contacted.

Christiana Simon, a close friend of Lee, said that Lee's brother, Matthew, who is a student at the Mailman School of Public Health, had last been in contact with his missing sister on Tuesday night over the phone, while she was home.

According to Simon, however, police tracked her last cell phone ping to a cell tower on 179th Street. She has also created a Facebook page with details of Lee's disappearance.

A GoFundMe page was set up Sunday by Lee’s brother to raise money for private detective for the case. As of Monday night, $40,648 had been raised.

Matthew Lee described his sister on the site as "a wonderful student, friend, mentor, sister, and daughter."

"We would like to pursue hiring a private detective at this time in order to expedite and prioritize the search process," Lee wrote. "Any funds not used for the private detective will be used as a reward for information leading to her finding."

Letty Moss-Salentijn, vice dean for academic affairs of the College of Dental Medicine, said in an email that Columbia University and the College of Dental Medicine were cooperating with the NYPD in the investigation.

“It is important during this time to respect the family and the investigative process by not making any statements that could hinder the search,” she said. “We all want to find Jiwon safely and will continue to do everything we can, in cooperation with NYPD,  to make that happen.”

Webster Felix, a dental student and an acquaintance of Lee, said that she was friendly and personable.

“We’re just hoping and praying she’s alright somewhere,” he said. “She’s always smiling and she’s very enthusiastic, bubbly, and upbeat. She’s a very pleasant person to be around.”

Lee served as president of the American Student Dental Association last year and served as a student representative on the Joint Commission of National Dental Examinations from 2011 to 2014.

Lee is also a comedian who has performed on Comedy Central's 2007 Open Mic Fight and in various New York City comedy clubs like Stand Up NY, Comix, and the Laugh Lounge. After news of her disappearance went public last week, many prominent New York City comedians, including Max Silvestri and Giulia Rozzi, tweeted to ask followers to look out for Lee.

Lee previously worked as a production assistant at ABC news, interned for NPR, and worked as a teaching fellow in New York City middle schools for AmeriCorps.

Anyone with information about this missing person is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips on the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Maia Bix and Emma Bogler contributed reporting.

christian.zhang@columbiaspectator.com  |  @ChristiZhang

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Anonymous posted on

Can anyone explain why the local news media has not been publicizing the story of Jiwon's disappearance? Has her family requested privacy?

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Thinking ny posted on

Cause the media really doesnt give one thought about a missing asian or to them a chink that diesnt matter, but a black or spanish missing person is a lot more valuable in their minds. Hell honestly nobody cares about chinks in this country unless it deals with sex or criminality.

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Mandy posted on

Thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family and friends at this time. God please have her be safe and found as soon as possible. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Mandy posted on

Thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family and friends at this time. God please have her be safe and found as soon as possible. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Anonymous posted on

black eyes? seriously christian zhang?

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can you not with the ignorant comments posted on

"Lee is DESCRIBED BY THE POLIC REPORT as a 29-year-old female, 5-foot-2, 120-pounds, with black hair and black eyes."

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Carlos posted on

This is incredibly sad and disturbing. May she be safe and return as soon as possible.

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Julie Kim posted on

I am praying everyday and my heart goes to Jiwon's Family.

Please come home safe Jiwon.
Just think about how your mom and dad ,your brother will be heart broken and suffering.
Please retun home and give us a great news.

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Anonymous posted on

The NY Daily News has an update which alleges she wrote a suicide note at some point.

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ahron lev ari posted on

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Concerned Student posted on

Any updates?

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