(EAST ORANGE) - In a heartbreaking interview with the father of Yasir Williams, 21, the missing honor student from Rutgers New Brunswick, last seen leaving his East Orange home on Edgar Street; Yasir's father pleads for everyone to continue looking for his son, and for the community to do whatever they can to help find him. He urges East Orange and South Orange residents to check their house cameras to see if they spotted his son jogging on the night he went missing, March 29, 2020, from about 10:30 PM and on. 

“I am trying to do the best I can on faith and God and praying, hoping he returns. It is just hard. Not being able to eat properly. Sleep properly. Waking up every day wondering if he is safe or alive. [While] trying to do anything I can do to get things out to the public, so they know my son is missing,” Mr. Williams told TAPinto East Orange/Orange.

Mr. Williams recalls the day his son went missing. “He left the house on March 29, 2020, at about 1:00 PM, and came back home after about 6:00 PM.” During this time, Mr. Williams recalled Yasir was visiting friends. However, his friends could not offer much insight.

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When Yasir came home after 6 PM, his father recalls he said, “Dad, I am alright, let me go in the room and study.” Mr. Williams continued, “then, I guess because he had been in so long [because of coronavirus], he put on his track sneakers and stuff and went out. I did not want him to go out, but he [said], ‘dad, I have to go,’ and then he just went out the door. I have not seen him since?”

To get the word out, Mr. Williams said he has been “passing pictures and leaving notes at people’s doors urging them to check their cameras.”

Mr. Williams and the East Orange Police Departments also notified Newark, South Orange, and the State Police, along with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

The Township of South Orange is in play, because Mr. Williams recalls this is where his son told him he liked to run although unsure of the exact route. "Yasir said to me, ‘you would not be able to keep up with me because it would be too much for your heart. I run all the way up to South Orange, and I don’t walk back, I run back'."

"Yasir liked to run three or four miles, and he would run on a constant basis. Someone had to have seen something because that is a running route, they have the county reservation up there…so many people run through South Orange and that area. A lot of people have cameras, and I am still circulating day by day pictures hoping someone’s camera caught him running [perhaps] near that area."

Mr. Williams wanted to clear up the earlier reports about the wallet and hoodie found. He believes the hoodie was removed by his son to run shirtless as he often did. A neighbor’s camera picked up Yasir jogging by shirtless. The father also believes the wallet fell from Yasir’s pocket when he began running. A nearby neighbor found the wallet and returned it to the Williams’ home.

Mr. Williams, who checks in with various offices around the county and state, thankfully said the “coroner  offices have not seen anyone come in, young 21, that fits that description.”

Holding onto hope, we asked if there was any reason Yasir might have wanted to get away from life for a while. “I have no idea. He was just so used to being active, went to the gym often…gyms are now closed. He is not used to being in because he was involved in so much at the colleges. He had a job there [on campus], then he was still studying, tired, and was saying he was not sleeping well."

Mr. Williams went on to say, "I am concerned about him being safe and alive. If he is alive, then he can return home. If he is safe, then he can get the proper food and nourishment to his health…and if he needs medical treatment, he can get it. If something is wrong…that’s my concern; it is not like him just to leave and never return, he left his phone and everything, [even] that Apple computer, he loved that computer. It is what he used all the time."

The name Yasir commonly means “to be rich,” and when asked to tell us more about Yasir and his family, through Mr. Williams’ tears, it was clear Yasir was indeed rich with love:

His father described the missing student as “always into studying and excelling. He was at Fairleigh Dickson and then transferred over to Rutgers New Brunswick, then he went to journalism [then switched] to filmmaking, which is what he was going to do when he graduated from Rutgers. He was in the honor society there. He was involved in many activities at Farleigh, and when he left that college, he went onto Rutgers to do the same.”

Being into excelling is of no surprise, Yasir comes from a long line of people dedicated to service including a grandparent who served honorably in World War II.

Mr. Williams said, “my mother raised us the best she could. My father passed when I was about 7. My mother bought a house and raised us.  They went onto college and got their degrees, my brothers and me, we went into the military and survived that with honorable discharges. I raised my children the best I could. I have another son; he is in the military now. I have a daughter she is college majoring in sociology and is also an honor student, I have another son who is a Newark firefighter; he is helping with the search [all in addition to Yasir].”

Mr. Williams urges neighbors in East Orange and South Orange to please check their cameras on March 29, 2020, from about 10:30 PM and on to see if his son could be seen. “I don’t think he could have gone farther than the State of NJ because he did not have his wallet. I have his wallet now and nothing was missing.

If you know of Yasir's whereabouts or have any tips, please contact East Orange Police at 973-266-5041, his family and community are desperately awaiting news and counting on his safe return. If you do not, please share this article and keep the momentum going for this father until this young man is found.

TAPinto East Orange/Orange is an online newspaper serving East Orange and Orange as a part of a network of more than 80 franchised local news sites in NY, NJ, and FL. TAPinto recently won 3 of 5 excellence in local journalism awards by the Center for Cooperative Media in NJ. We are accredited by the NJ State Police, which is done through the New Jersey Press Association in which we are long-standing members. We take pride in providing the community with objective news, fact-finding reporting while featuring positive stories and awareness campaigns daily.

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