UPDATE: WXPI-TV reports that James’ body was discovered earlier this morning in the Ohio River in Robinson Township, over a month after he disappeared. The circumstances surrounding James’ disappearance and death are still unclear. Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto issued the following statement in response to the discovery:
“My heart goes out to the family of Mr. James and the entire Duquesne University community. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to lose a young loved one like Dakota. While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, I want to thank the tireless work of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and other law enforcement agencies, to follow every lead and every piece of evidence in their attempts to find him.”
Duquesne University grad student Dakota James disappeared over a month ago while believed to be going on a Grindr date. Now, his family is demanding the app cooperate with investigators.
“Grindr did not provide all the information that we need,” James’ mother, Pamela, wrote in a recent Facebook post. “They only gave you the minimal [information] that they are required by the so called law.”
23-year-old James went missing on January 25. Surveillance video from that night shows him walking in Katz Plaza. Police followed every piece of surveillance video they had, but eventually lost track of the young man. In the video, he is smiling, laughing, and texting.
Now, Mrs. James says she wants the Pittsburgh police to put more pressure on Grindr to hand over all of the data it has on her son. Although she didn’t detail specifically what the family needed, it’s assumed they are hoping to access James’ message and GPS tracking history.
Authorities say they have checked every tip they have received, retraced James’ steps the night of his disappearance, and interviewed friends, coworkers, and family members. They have also searched landfills and homeless shelters, and interviewed a man with whom James had been chatting. They have not, however, been able to track his exact location based on the app’s GPS data.
Mrs. James says she is determined to get Grindr to hand over the information investigators need to find her missing son.
“We will continue to fight to get more information,” she insists.
As of now, Pittsburgh police Chief Scott Schubert says they do not yet suspect foul play, “It’s a missing person’s investigation. We don’t have any evidence to suggest that right now.”
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to James’ discovery.