NY cops look for NU grad in river

Jerome C. Pandell

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The Daily Northwestern

The New York City Police Department continued searching Wednesday for recent Northwestern graduate Peter Stein, who disappeared early Tuesday morning after swimming across the East River near the Williamsburgh Bridge in New York, police said.

Det. Thomas Kuchma, NYPD spokesman, said the search crews had not found anything since finding another NU alum who went swimming with Stein, Weinberg ’02, reported he was swept away by the river’s strong currents.

Jonathan Baum, Medill ’02, was released from a hospital Tuesday and joined search crews in identifying locations where he and Stein began swimming Tuesday morning, Kuchma said.

He also said officials have not yet changed the designation of Stein’s disappearance from search-and-rescue to a recovery operation.

Friends of Stein said he had a boisterous personality and was known for his sharp wit.

J.B. Capino, a former Willard Residential College assistant master who now teaches in the film studies department at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, said he remembers eating lunch in Willard’s dining hall with Stein almost every day.

“Peter has such a magnetic personality and acerbic wit … that’s why he was such a great person to talk to,” said Capino, Graduate School ’02. “He would stay in touch constantly.”

Stein last spoke with Capino during Senior Week before their respective graduations in June, and Capino said Stein was planning to pursue a graduate degree in history.

“I join his loved ones in praying that he’s safe and found soon,” Capino said. “This is devastating news.”

Sanjay Sood, who succeeded Capino as assistant master of Willard this fall, met Stein the day they both moved into Willard as freshmen in the fall of 1998.

“(Peter) was a phenomenally great guy,” said Sood, Communication ’02 and a graduate student. “He was the life of the party, always happy, very boisterous and incredibly nice.”

Mark Witte, a lecturer in the economics department and faculty fellow at Willard, said he fondly remembers contributions Stein made to a macroeconomics class of Witte’s he was in.

“Peter was one of these guys who knew everyone’s name and what they were up to,” Witte said. “He was just really fun and outgoing.”

Members of Stein’s immediate family, including two parents and an older brother, could not be reached for comment.