Penn State Student Missing


JoedadoPenn State freshman Joseph Dado is currently missing has been found dead. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends. Details to follow soon.

He was last seen at a FIJI party on Sunday, September 19th at 3:00 AM. He is supposed to have begun walking back to East Halls, but no one has seen or heard from him since he left Fiji (Phi Gamma Delta). At the time, he was wearing jeans, a yellow shirt, and a blue hooded sweatshirt.

If you have any information about Joseph, please contact Natalie Dado at 724-858-9809 or Penn State Police at 814-863-1111. Anonymous tips can be directed to Centre County Crime Stoppers at 877-992-7463.

Update 10:00 pm: A small candlelight vigil is being held on Pollock Road immediately outside the cordoned off area. Auxiliary Police are still stationed around the perimeter of the police tape while high-intensity flood lights are seen on the other side of the wall where the investigation is being carried out.

Update 7:51 pm: Joseph Dado appears to have fallen 15 feet and sustained severe trauma to his head. Repairmen found his body when responding to a service call. [source] The Collegian also has a story up.

Update 7:05 pm: Dado found dead in stairwell by Steidle and Deike. Foul play not suspected, however alcohol was involved.

Update 7:01 pm: There is no ambulance at the scene. Police bringing in generators and lighting equipment now.

Update 6:50 pm: The area between Steidle and Deike is quartered off by police. It looks to be an area containing dumpsters and other maintenance apparatus. In total it looks like 5 police cars with more en route. Gavin Keirans and IFC president Luke Pierce are on the scene.

Update 6:10 pm: Penn State posted a note on Facebook saying that,

Police have found no record of activity on Dado’s student ID card, bank debit card and cell phone since before he was last seen.

Update 5:01pm: Police are searching under manholes, and other places in West Campus. More info in this Collegian article. Additional picture from the Collegian…

joe dado

Update 4:36pm: There is currently a Facebook group called “Help Find Joe Dado“. It can, and should be used to coordinate search parties, etc.

Update 4:07 pm: The Collegian just posted an article stating that the Dado family is offering a $10,000 reward, ostensibly for information leading to his recovery. They also added:

Penn State Police and State College police officers interviewed about 13 fraternity members in Fiji’s parking lot. Two officers inspected the trunks of the vehicles parked in Fiji’s parking lot. Officers had two search dogs.

Update 3:01 pm: Lisa Powers, the Director of Public Information at Penn State commented…

…that was a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter, which came in at the request of University Police to aid in the search for Joe Dado. Police have interviewed scores of people who know Joe or may have seen him Saturday night and Sunday morning. They also have visited each of Joe’s scheduled classes today to talk with faculty and classmates, urging them to contact police with any information about him.

State College Police Department detectives also have joined the investigation, and the University’s Auxiliary Services unit has been enlisted to comb campus buildings.

Joe was wearing jeans, a yellow T-shirt and blue zipper sweatshirt with a hood when he was last seen leaving Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at 319 N. Burrowes Rd. to return to his residence hall room. He is a white male with brown eyes and brown hair. He is approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds. Police said he has not returned phone calls or e-mails since he was last seen.

Update 2:33 pm: A better picture of the helicopter circling campus, now confirmed to belong to the Pennsylvania State Police. Thank you to George Chriss for contributing the picture.helicopter

Update 1:20 pm: The UPUA and IFC will be going door to door through State College this evening to provide information on the missing person. If you are available, meet outside the UPUA office at 7:45 pm. According to Luke Pierce, the meeting will actually take place at 8 PM in the HUB Auditorium. At this time, volunteers will have a brief orientation about the material being delivered door-to-door. Afterwards, routes will be provided and then, groups will break up and start handing out the information.

Update 1:00 pm: A helicopter, thought to be State Police, is flying low and slow over campus. Picture. Many have commented on the appropriateness of using a helicopter on such a large campus with so many people. The helicopter is incredibly useful for surveying rooftops, fields, light forests and yards. Let’s hope the search proves fruitful.


About Author

Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters. Now at Fusion.


  1. I hope his parents get some of their tuition money back, he never even finished the semester. RIP Joe.

  2. When an underaged person is intoxicated someone had to get him this alcohol. Is that not ‘foul play’?

  3. It is a shame that it takes a death for students to see what alcohol can do. I HOPE this tragedy can help others to make better decisions and look out for their friends. That kid had his life cut short because he decided to drink too much and noone bothered to walk with him. Rest with the Angels, Joe.

  4. i would think a zero tolerance policy would mean if anyone caught with alcohol would be expelled…no questions asked. there would be task forces on campus actually inforcing this law. Maybe this would save many lives.

  5. i would think a zero tolerance policy would mean if anyone caught with alcohol would be expelled…no questions asked. there would be task forces in place on campus actually inforcing this law. Maybe this would save many lives.

  6. PSU does have a zero tolerance alcohol policy, as does the borough.

    I cannot speculate on the cause of death, but I can say I have been in the area and the fraternity many times and it is highly unlikely that a) he were that intoxicated that the brothers there would let him leave and b) that the dogs would not pick up a trail from the house to the staircase if he had wandered there himself.

    I also find it highly suspcisious that they were so quick in reporting him missing. To rule out things within 20 min of finding the body is absurd.

    Yes, many people are giving undue responsibility to the fraternity, HOWEVER, let this be a lesson to the houses that you should not serve alcohol to those underage and that there needs to be a higher organization to these parties. Many fraternities are adamant about checking the age and names of their attendees, but it has not been implemented in all.

    Many students do not truly know what it feels like to be drunk. Many people do not understand the levels of drunkeness. With a no tolerance policy, many students and peers are afraid to call for help in the case of an alcohol related emergency. We do not implement a “safe haven” provision for the underage students.

    Penn state is not a party school. Nor is it a drinking town with a college problem. The fact is, the more 18-25 year olds you shove into a small town with not much to do, the more problems you will have.

    Many of the sutdents remain uninformed of the crime rates and statistics of the state college area. If students knew the amount of reported crimes, I can guaranteed many would take heed.

    For now, it is important to give the family and friends of this young man the support they deserve. The nasty comments need to cease. Now.

    Joe, may you rest in the sweetest peace. God bless the Dado family.

  7. Student, I’ve been on or near a college campus almost every day of my life for the last 30 years. You are crazy if you think students today lie about their drinking and students 12 years ago did not. Drinking at Penn State has undergone a HUGE rise in the past 10-15 years, and the levels of drinking and dangerous drinking are MUCH higher than they have been in the past. You and other students need to take a serious look at your drinking behavior. It is way over the line.

    • For the past 30 years you’ve lived near Penn State.. sure there’s a rise in drinking but what do you expect? Penn State IS a respected school but kids like to have fun and drink. There are over 24 bars and restaurants that sell alcohol within a half mile of the campus. Having 86 fraternities and sororities at Penn State excessive student drinking is inevitable. Accidents happen, as tragic as it is, they do happen. Don’t blame the drinking behavior on one incident though. There’s thousands of intelligent students on this campus who get wasted every weekend and they’ll go on after graduation to do something great with their lives. I think you need to take a serious look at your attitude and stop being so ignorant to reality. Look at the facts, how many students have died due to drinking at Penn State in the last ten years? Do you realize there are over 40,000 students on this campus? On average 2 deaths a year out of 40,000.. that’s .00005% have died from drinking on campus. So before lecturing about the rise in drinking on campus look at the effects first. How much harm is it REALLY having on the students? It’s tragic what happen that night and my condolences go out to the Dado family. But in reply to you sir, please check yourself before you say anything.

      • The Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation in a 1999 study found that 9 deaths in 100000 (.00009%) are attributed to underage drinking nationwide. Your estimate, which I think is a fairly good one puts PSU at under the national average, which according to that “survey” was when people were drinking LESS so if numbers have increased that much since then we should be expecting upwards of 10 deaths a year. So really… we’re under the line if you want to look at the numbers.

        Drinking at Penn State was bad last week, it will be bad next week and that probably isn’t going to change for a long time. What can the university do when they are devoting over half their schemers to screwing up the football student ticket system? Expelling kids who get caught drinking? Probably isn’t realistic and most kids don’t get caught anyway if they are even a little smart about it.

  8. First off i’d like to say this is one of the sadest things II have ever seen. I do not know Joe personally, but my heart sincerly goes out to his friends and family. I can not imagine how they must feel. This is incredibly shocking and completely unexpected. They are in my deepest thoughs and prayers.

    To me this whole thing seems a little shady. I really do hope that the police are still going to question the frat. I do hope the frat will be held some what responsible for this. I do not undersand how the dogs or the helicopter did not see the young man. I find it odd that he was found a little bit before people were to gather in the HUB for a search party. Does anyone one else agree?

  9. I am so sorry for the loss to his family…It is just sad……..
    Please, old and young,,,,drinking too much is out of control. After a few drinks you do not have complete control over what you do…. Dont try and do what others push you into doing. There does not have to be a party or drinking party every week…
    You are at school to learn….this is a chance in a lifetime to get a good education at a wonderful school. Most of your parents and you are working to get books, educate yourself so that you can have a good job someday and be the next generation….
    Let someone be a leader to stop underage drinking and drinking too much at any age…please.

  10. Something similiar happened to me my freshman year at Penn State, Luckily I had someone to take me to the hospital which, without a doubt, saved my life. Sorry i wasn’t there for you buddy, rest in peace Joe, my prayers and deepest sympathies are with you and your family.

  11. Anonymous, what I expect is that students find a reasonable balance. That has often been the case, even at Penn State. No one is calling for abstinence. But, to deny that drinking at Penn State has taken a dramatic rise is to deny both what the facts say in a number of different ways–DUIs, emergency room data, student surveys, alcohol sales data–and the experience of those of us who have lived in this community for decades. I expect students to experiment. I expect them to have fun and to drink. All of us did that when we were in college. But, I also think all the evidence points to an extremely high level of dangerous drinking among the current student population. It’s time to have a serious conversation about what’s acceptable and unacceptable in our community.

  12. I hope this gets to as many students as possible who feel uncomfortable about this whole thing. This has a horrible impact on a family, a friend and a school. Too say his death was an accident is fine but you should all question how he got to the bottom of the stairwell. For all of you who havent actually saw the spot. It is unrealistic to say this student climb a 6 foot wall by himself, then walked 20 feet on a roof to the other side, then fell. The roof is black but there is a one foot ledge around the roof which is a couple of inches off the roof. So one could clearly see that the roof ended there. Why would someone randomly do that? And from many statements he wasn’t visibly drunk (obviously that will be answered when the toxicology report comes back). I personally don’t feel that he was alone when the supposed accident happened wherever it happened. Someone knows something. I just hope it is investigated a lot further. If people just let it go as an accident that is all it will be which is sad. The family and friends need answers. I am not saying that Penn state does not have a drinking problem or that this shouldn’t be a wake up call for a lot of students but other problems need to be addressed too. I was also wondering if anyone knew about the “broken pipe” Was there actually a broken pipe? If not, who called and why? I praying for both Joe and his family. Rest in peace..

  13. Somebody, I asked the EXACT questions you did…climbed a 6′ wall? Why/how would he do this? The “broken pipe” that just happened to be called in around this time? It just doesn’t fit together. They need to keep investigating. Someone knows something. We love you Joe.

  14. For many years, students have gone missing and turned up dead, all the time in the midwest and there is no reaction like this.

    It’s possible the Dado case was an accident. But, if this case looks fishy, it could perhaps be related to a nationwide organization that has killed 70+ college students over the past 15 years. I advise Penn State to marshall all resources possible to find the killers.

    The victims names and locations are used to spell out clues.


    The midwest has essentially sat back and taken it, allowing their young men to be killed and not lifting a finger while their police forces keep calling it an accident.

    One fishy case at Penn State and the community is banding together and in an uproar. Review the links above and see if you can’t identify the perps who may have killed Mr. Dado. It’s possible you have a murderer or two within the community. The SF killers are known to spike drinks and use women to lure men away to a place where they are killed. There are also many reports of white vans and mysterious taxicabs when the victims go missing.


    • You may find the perps in Pittsburgh, protesting at the G20. The PSU trip was their warm up for G20.

      It fits the profile.

  15. Conspiracy. Penn State killed Joe Dado! The broken pipe was just a ploy so they could dump the body!

    STOP IT!!!!

    Sorry if the above was off color but I’m sick of people reading too much into the situation. There are any number of ways he could have ended up in the bottom of that outside stairwell and most of them don’t include another party being involved like you people are speculating. Nothing was stolen from him, which also points to him being alone. No member of Fiji has been arrested so it’s safe so far to rule out the idea of them dumping him to avoid bringing attention to the frat (if they did do it I’m sure they would have taken him a bit further away than across the street) though they are being suspended temporarily. Pipes break, especially in old buildings of which Deike, Steidel and Hoslar all qualify as. Also a witness in the area that night reported seeing Joe by himself. Does it matter that he was found minutes before a search party was about to go out door to door? If he was found 8 hours before or 8 hours earlier it still wouldn’t have made much of a difference. When I saw the dogs they didn’t even go south of the Fiji house and they didn’t seem to have a trail which was already a day old at that point and covered over by thousands of students who had already walked around that area between 3am Sunday and when they came to campus after noon on Monday. I’m not sure of the orientation of the stairwell and the cover but I think it is pretty easy for two human eyes a couple hundred feet in the air to overlook an area or two. The ONLY question I have is how he ended on the retaining wall above the stairs in order to fall. From what I’ve read in the reports all of his friends have been saying he had been drinking but when they last saw him he wasn’t heavily intoxicated so it is very possible he could have climbed the wall himself, maybe he was going to go downtown to his sister’s place, got part way there and decided to go back, cut across the lot behind Deike and instead of going around the building to return to Fiji decided he might be able to cut through over the wall, climbed it, lost balance and fell. This while speculation, is a bit more realistic than some sort of conspiracy that the university is trying to cover up or that the body was placed their later.

    RIP Joe.

  16. I agree this is probably an accident but so many deaths in the midwest are called accidents. Don’t wait for more deaths before foul play is ruled out by an extremely thorough investigation.

    If it is true he had to scale a 6 ft fence to get to the spot he was found, I would be very very suspicious.

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  18. Anyone reading this,DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GOOGLE "SMILEY FACE MURDERS" ….you'll see that almost 100 or more young men from various colleges have went missing under similiar circumstances and have turned up in bodies of water,only to have people "assume that the poor young man has drowned due to being intoxicated". I can tell you right now that this situation was going to turn out the same way BUT Joseph must have had lots of people who cared about him because there were MANY people out searching for him BEFORE 24 hours were even up. THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE for this COULD NOT sneak out in the middle of the night and put his body in water…any body of water around, no matter if it was a small pond or a drainage ditch. Don't ask why. Anyone who knows anything about the smiley face murders knows that we have not figured out why this keeps happening. Why do they keep coming after young college men? GOOGLE CHRIS JENKINS or TOMMY BOOTH or BRIAN SHAFFER. What you will read will blow your f' ing mind. You'll never go out drinking with your buddies again. EVER.

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