Virginia Tech Student Missing for 1 Week Tracked to Missouri Restaurant Before Driving Off

Johnny Roop was last seen on Feb. 16 and was supposed to take an online exam at his parents’ house

<p>Montgomery County Sheriff

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

Johnny Roop

Johnny Roop, the Virginia Tech student reported missing last week, was located at a Missouri restaurant on Wednesday and drove off alone, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said in an update.

According to authorities, sheriff’s office investigators tracked Roop to a restaurant in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on Wednesday afternoon. He was alone and left the restaurant when an employee identified him. The 20-year-old drove off unaccompanied in his car.

Law enforcement in Missouri was notified and tried to find him “without success,” the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said. They continued searching for Roop on Thursday.

<p>Montgomery County Sheriff's Office</p> Johnny Roop's car seen in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on Feb. 21

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

Johnny Roop's car seen in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on Feb. 21

“While there are many unanswered questions, based on this personal sighting, we believe Mr. Roop is acting alone and traveling on his own free will,” the sheriff’s office statement read. “We appreciate the cooperation of law enforcement organizations, businesses, and the public during this investigation.”

Roop’s mother, Veronica Widener, told ABC News that her son’s disappearance is “totally out of his nature.”

“Our concern now is there's something that we're just not aware of, that mentally may have snapped. And I have no idea what that might be,” Widener said. “We just want to locate him and make sure that he's OK."

<p>Montgomery County Sheriff's Office</p> Johnny Roop

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

Johnny Roop

Roop is a senior at Virginia Tech’s business school and is set to graduate in May. His mom told ABC News he is pursuing a career in financial planning.

Widener told the outlet that the last time she communicated with Roop was on Feb. 14, when they texted Valentine’s Day messages to each other.

In an interview with NBC affiliate WSLS, Widener shared a message to her son.

“We’re all here for you no matter what’s going on,” she said. “We’re here and all you have to do is call. You know, wherever you are, I’ll be there. I will come to you.”

Roop was last seen at his apartment complex in Montgomery County on Friday, Feb. 16, the university and the sheriff’s office said Monday. He was driving to his parent’s home in Abington, Virginia for an online exam at 5 p.m. local time, but never arrived.

<p>Montgomery County Sheriff's Office</p> Johnny Roop

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

Johnny Roop

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The university said Monday that the student’s phone was pinged at the New River Valley Mall at 4:26 p.m. on Friday. His car is a black 2018 Toyota Camry with Virginia license plate number TXW6643 and has a Virginia Tech flag sticker on the back.

“We have received no information leading us to believe that he is in immediate danger; however, due to the fact that Mr. Roop appears to be acting outside of his normal behavior we would like to make contact with him to confirm that he is indeed ok,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 540-382-4343.

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